Wednesday December 6, 2017 Advertising Feature
Gardening & OUTDOOR LIVING
Myrtle rust reaches Wellington The fungal plant disease myrtle rust has been found in Lower Hutt. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says its laboratory confirmed last Thursday, positive infection in three ramarama plants in a Hutt Valley garden. The two-metre-high plants are in a row and are heavily infected, says the myrtle rust response incident controller Catherine Duthie. The disease thrives in a humid and warm environment and MPI say the disease’s spread was a sign that myrtle rust could be here to stay. Myrtle rust is a fungus that attacks – and can potentially seriously affect – myrtle species plants, including natives such as pohutukawa, ramarama, manuka and rata. "This new find, significantly further south of other known infection in the upper North Island, is very disappointing," Catherine says. As with other positive finds, the trees are having their foliage sealed to prevent spore drift and are then
being removed and deep buried. "All efforts to date have been to contain infection where it is found. However, we have been planning for the possibility that it turns out to be widespread and are realistic that it won't be feasible to keep removing all infected trees found long term,” Catherine explains. "This new find will see us review our tactics and could signal a move to a longer-term approach to managing it in partnership with others, including local authorities, iwi and hapu, plant production industry, and
interested individuals and groups. "We'll be keeping people informed about any decisions and will provide the most up-to-date information about best practice in fighting this disease," she says. In the meantime, MPI encourages everyone to keep an eye out for the disease in myrtle species. If you think you've seen the distinctive yellow fungus, don't touch the plant or the rust, as this may spread it. If possible, get a good photo of the plant and the yellow patches, and contact MPI on 0800 80 99 66.
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Independent Herald 06-12-17