You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Myrtle rust found in 12 locations

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/05/2017
© @MPI_NZ / Twitter

The number of locations infected with myrtle rust has risen to a dozen and more are expected to be found.

The fungal plant disease was first found at a Kerikeri nursery in early May and then in Taranaki. The Ministry for Primary Industries is working to contain the outbreaks and say there have been a total of 380 reports by Monday afternoon.

On Saturday MPI said three new locations have tested positive: two residential gardens in Waitara and a Taranaki Regional Council-run plant depot which supplies plants to farmers for riparian planting.

There are now 12 confirmed locations for myrtle rust - eight properties are nurseries or retailers and four are private gardens.

Myrtle rust 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.

The council plant depot has been closed and is being treated.

Four other similar plant depots in Taranaki are being investigated and farmers won't be able to collect trees from them next week.

MPI says it expects to continue to find new locations of infection as it was likely the fungal spores entered New Zealand from Australia during a major wind event.

There are restrictions on the movement of plants or other risky materials off the infected sites.

They are being treated with fungicide, plants at risk are being destroyed, and surrounding properties are being checked.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon