As most of you will know Myrtle Rust (Austropuccinia psidii) has recently been detected in a number of New Zealand locations for the first time. It is a serious fungal disease that affects plants in the Myrtle family (family Myrtaceae). Myrtle Rust poses a severe threat to very important native species including Manuka and Kanuka, which are commonly used in revegetation plantings, along with the iconic Pohutukawa, and also various Rata species and Swamp Maire. The disease also affects a range of exotic species such as Eucalyptus, Feijoa, Guava and Bottlebrushes. Potentially the affects could be devastating, both ecologically and financially, on top of a national sense of loss if the Pohutukawa and others disappeared.
The NZ Plant Producers Inc (NZPPI) have developed a comprehensive and authoritative advice on protocols and precautions for identification and treatment of Myrtle Rust and the growing, transporting and planting Myrtaceae species, which is freely available on their website www.nzppi.co.nz/MyrtleRust. It recommending that all nursery staff and contractors involved with planting work implement appropriate precautions for the management of Myrtle Rust in accordance with the NZPPI protocols. Those procuring planting work should incorporate the relevant aspects of these requirements into all contracts for identification and treatment of Myrtle Rust and the propagation, transport or planting that involves susceptible species.
For those of you specifying plants in the Myrtle family it is important to ensure:
- Plants from a commercial nursery have the appropriate completed copies of the NZPPI Nursery Management Declaration form and Plant Transport Declaration form.
- Treatment records are provided for non-commercially sourced plants
- Myrtaceous plants are within the effective period of cover for the treatment used at time of dispatch (different treatments and cover periods are on the NZPPI website).
Myrtle Rust (Austropuccinia psidii) has legal status as a Notifiable and Unwanted Organism. Any suspected Myrtle Rust finds must be reported immediately to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
Further information on the disease, including how to recognise it and what to do if it is suspected, is on the:
MPI website: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/alerts/Myrtle-Rust/
NZPPI website: www.nzppi.co.nz/MyrtleRust
Masterspec's relevant sections now include instructions and guidance on the procedures for dealing with Myrtaceae species and Myrtle Rust. These sections are:
- 8310 LANDSCAPE SITE PREPARATION (available in Landscapes)
- 8320 SOIL PREPARATION, PLANTING AND TURFING (available in Standard and Basic)
- 8331 PLANT PROPAGATION (available in Landscapes and Structural & Civil)
- 8332 PLANTING (available in Landscapes and Structural & Civil)
- 8335 TREE PLANTING AND TRANSPLANTING (available in Landscapes and Structural & Civil)
- 8382 TREE PRUNING (available in Landscapes and Structural & Civil)
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