Reminder of myrtle rust
The discovery of myrtle rust infecting two mature trees in
torohanga has prompted a reminder from Waikato Regional Council for sightings of the disease to be reported.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) briefed the regional council on the new finds and its planned response.
‘‘We’ve been told the fungus has likely arrived in torohanga on the wind,’’ said Patrick Whaley, the regional council’s integrated catchment services manager.
‘‘With so many treasured myr- tle species in our region it’s really worrying to have this disease confirmed, so we’ve offered for our biosecurity officers to work closely with MPI to help as directed,’’ he said.
He said myrtle rust symptoms will have been dormant over winter.
‘‘So with the arrival of spring it’s the right time for our communities to be on the lookout again for myrtle rust, as its symptoms will be more obvious.
‘‘It’s also important that anyone who planted myrtle species in autumn and winter starts checking them for signs of myrtle rust as the weather warms up,’’ he said.
Myrtle rust appears as bright yellow and powdery eruptions on the underside of the leaf if it’s a young infection, and then on both sides of the leaf if it’s a more mature infection. Other symptoms include brown/grey rust pustules on older lesions.
Myrtle rust is a fungal disease that affects plants in the myrtle family, such as po¯hutukawa, ma¯nuka, ka¯nuka, guava, feijoa and eucalyptus.
Anyone who spots what they think is myrtle rust should not touch or try to collect samples, but instead call MPI’s hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
Myrtle Rust has been found in feijoa trees, Waitara, earlier this year.