Myr­tle rust spreads to the wider Waikato

Cambridge Edition - - OUT & ABOUT -

sur­round­ing ar­eas for signs of the dis­ease, which at­tacks var­i­ous species of plants in the myr­tle fam­ily in­clud­ing po­hutukawa, rata, manuka, gum, bot­tle­brush and fei­joa.

Peter Fraser, owner of whole­sale nursery Grow­ing Spec­trum near Hamil­ton, said his com­pany had taken steps to guard against the ar­rival of the dis­ease, which is thought to have blown over from Aus­tralia.

‘‘For a start we grow a lim­ited range of myr­tle species be­cause we can get 6 de­gree frosts here, so we have no po­hutukawa or manuka. We grow about eight species.

‘‘We took all of them out and showed them to staff so they can iden­tify them.’’

When plants leave the nursery they are closely checked over to make sure they carry no dis­ease and the nursery trucks are cleaned ev­ery week. Pal­lets and trol­leys are also reg­u­larly ster­ilised.

Fraser said he feared what late spring might bring.

* Peo­ple can re­port any sus­pected signs of myr­tle rust to MPI’s Ex­otic Pest and Dis­ease Hot­line on 0800 80 99 66.

WIKICOMMONS

Myr­tle rust (Puc­cinia psidii) has reached the wider Waikato.

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