Plant nurs­ery re­opens af­ter myr­tle rust


The Kerik­eri nurs­ery first hit by myr­tle rust has been al­lowed to re­open for busi­ness.

Kerik­eri Plant Pro­duc­tion was closed down af­ter re­port­ing the fun­gal disease on its po­hutukawa seedlings to the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries in early May. Since then an­other 25 cases have been found, in­clud­ing two in Waikato and 21 in Taranaki.

The two other cases in North­land were at a res­i­den­tial prop­erty near Kerik­eri Plant Pro­duc­tion and a prop­erty in Ta­heke, west of Kaikohe. Kerik­eri Plant Pro­duc­tion’s Ju­lia Col­gan, who owns the nurs­ery with hus­band Tom Lin­de­say, says they re­opened on May 29. It had been a tough month, she says.

‘‘We’ve had a lot of plants re­moved and de­stroyed off site.’’

Col­gan says all plants of the myr­tle species - in­clud­ing po­hutukawa, ra­ma­rama, rata, fei­joa, eu­ca­lypts, manuka and kanuka - at their nurs­ery had been de­stroyed and they were no longer sell­ing them. They will be al­lowed to pro­duce them ‘‘in time’’, hope­fully by spring, de­pend­ing on how preva­lent and wide­spread the myr­tle rust sit­u­a­tion is, she says.

MPI is work­ing with DOC, iwi, in­dus­try, sci­en­tists, and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and con­tin­ues to ad­vise peo­ple not to touch plants that might have the disease, take a photo, and re­port it to 0800 80 99 66.

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