Myr­tle Rust finds con­tinue

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

FUN­GAL DIS­EASE MYR­TLE RUST CON­TIN­UES TO BE FOUND IN new ar­eas around New Zealand with the lat­est dis­cov­er­ies in the Waikato re­gion.

In spite of win­ter sup­pos­edly slow­ing the dis­ease’s progress, there have been nearly 100 cases of the fun­gal in­fec­tion found on plants since the first case was spot­ted in North­land in April, with 64 lo­cated in Taranaki, and blights seen in the Bay of Plenty and King Coun­try.

In the lat­est case, the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries says in­fec­tions have been found on Ra­ma­rama trees on two prop­er­ties in Otoro­hanga – out­side the known in­fec­tion area.

In­ci­dent con­troller, Cather­ine Duthie, says the two new prop­er­ties don’t have any con­nec­tion to those in­fected in Taranaki, sup­port­ing the Min­istry’s the­ory the dis­ease had blown over in a sin­gle wind event, rather than spread­ing around New Zealand.

“We’ve been car­ry­ing out sur­veil­lance for the dis­ease through­out the win­ter, even though Myr­tle Rust is gen­er­ally in­ac­tive in colder weather and the symp­toms are less ob­vi­ous,” says Dr Duthie said.

“We had known that a reap­pear­ance of ob­vi­ous Myr­tle Rust symp­toms was likely in spring – so while this is dis­ap­point­ing, it’s not un­ex­pected.”

The prop­er­ties have been placed un­der le­gal re­stric­tions and the in­fected plants will be de­stroyed.

Foresters have been wor­ried about the finds be­cause Myr­tle Rust can se­ri­ously af­fect and even kill Eu­ca­lyp­tus trees, as well species like Po­hutukawa. There is no known method for de­feat­ing Myr­tle Rust, ex­cept for re­moval and de­struc­tion of af­fected trees and plants.

NZL

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