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Myrtle rust continues to spread

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

A further case of fungal plant disease Myrtle rust has been found in Taranaki, bringing the total number of cases reported across the country to 26.

The Ministry for Primary Industries on Tuesday said it had identified a total of 21 infections in Taranaki, three in Northland and two in Waikato.

They were at a mix of plant nurseries, private gardens, retailers/distributors and an orchard.

It's been found on ramarama, eucalyptus and manuka plants, but no cases on feijoa trees have been reported, MPI said.

"While most of the infections are on seedlings, one of the most recent detections was an extensive outbreak in a very established pohutukawa hedge belt in Taranaki," the ministry said in a statement.

The fungal disease was first found at a Kerikeri, Northland, nursery in early May.

It attacks native trees, such as pohutukawa and rata, and could cause serious damage to manuka trees, used in honey production.

There is no known method for controlling it in the wild, other than applying fungicide in very small areas.

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