Myrtle Rust The Threat
Myrtle Rust disease could be on any plants from an infected area taken to a revegetation site. It can also be carried on clothing or vehicles. Myrtle Rust spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind, or via insects, birds, people, or machinery.
If it becomes widespread it will impact all of New Zealand’s Myrtaceae to some degree and we are likely to lose some native species in their natural state. Ecological integrity will be compromised in places where myrtles are a dominant species. It is also likely to affect commercial activities (e.g. manuka honey industry), tourism, recreation and landscape values.
It is very important that Kawau Island Landowners, Community planting groups, Volunteers and all those who go into the forest follow certain hygiene protocols to restrict the spread of the wind-borne disease. Those of us who may be replanting and carrying out spring planting work potentially and unknowingly may be spreading Myrtle Rust.
• Check any Myrtles for symptoms of Myrtle rust
• If you suspect Myrtle Rust, please take a photo and report to MPI (0800 80 99 66). Don’t move any plants, produce or gardening equipment offsite until you hear back from MPI.
If you find anything suspicious
1. Do not move the plants or any plant material from the site.
2. Take photos of the suspected Myrtle Rust and the whole plant.
3. Do not attempt to touch or collect samples as this may increase the spread of this disease.
4. If possible, isolate the plants with an igloo-hoop-like plastic cover.