Myrtle Rust finds continue
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.