Shrubs on revamped street removed after being hit by disease
Shrubs along the revamped section of Richmond’s main street have been removed as myrtle rust infections spread across the Nelson and Tasman region.
Tasman District Council community relations manager Chris Choat said evidence of the fungal disease had been found on some shrubs in a ‘‘couple of beds’’ along the recently upgraded CBD section of Queen St.
‘‘About half [the shrubs] have been removed as a precautionary measure,’’ Choat said.
Horticultural officer Richard Hilton said the new landscape planting had one shrub – ramarama – in the Myrtaceae family, which was a commonly used plant around Richmond.
‘‘It is unknown why these new plants were vulnerable to the disease, but it was decided to remove all infected plants and their neighbours before the disease could spread into the wider landscape,’’ Hilton said.
The shrubs were replaced with grasses, ‘‘and regular checks are made of the remaining ramarama, including plants not in the new Queen St upgrade’’, he said.
Choat said the plants were ‘‘relatively cheap – single dollars as opposed to tens or hundreds’’.
The tı¯toki and ornamental pear trees that had been planted in the beds as part of the upgrade were fine.
A Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson confirmed yesterday that neither tı¯toki nor ornamental pears were susceptible hosts for myrtle rust.
The spokesperson said myrtle rust had been confirmed at 25 sites or properties in Nelson city and Tasman district, with five confirmed reported infections in Nelson – in The Wood and Tahunanui.
In Tasman, there were 20 confirmed reported infections – at Richmond, Pohara, Collingwood, Parapara, Patons Rock and Tata Beach.
Infections had been found on ramarama and po¯hutukawa, the spokesperson said.
Myrtle rust has now spread to many parts of New Zealand that have a suitable climate. Biosecurity NZ has contacted the owners of affected properties and provided information about their responsibilities under the Biosecurity Act, and advice about maintaining their property to minimise the spread of disease.
‘‘We have limited tools available to manage the disease, and are investing significantly in scientific research to develop new tools, build understanding of myrtle rust, and explore possible long-term treatment and management options,’’ the spokesperson said.
Myrtle rust has spread to many parts of New Zealand, with 20 confirmed reported infections in Tasman district – including shrubs in the upgraded section of Richmond’s Queen St.