Be on the lookout for myrtle rust
Now it’s spring, myrtle rust may be more noticeable. If you see it, don’t touch it – call the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on 0800 80 99 66.
Myrtle rust could affect iconic New Zealand plants like pōhutukawa, kānuka, manuka, ramarama and rātā, as well as species such as eucalyptus, guava and feijoa.
To protect any myrtaceae species on your property (eg in your garden or orchard), you may want to consider spraying them with copper at label rates.
Be on the lookout for:
• bright yellow powdery eruptions appearing on the underside of the leaf (young infection)
• bright yellow powdery eruptions on both sides of the leaf (mature infection)
• brown/grey rust pustules (older spores) which can appear on older lesions
• buckled or twisted leaves which may die off.
*Update 13 September 2017:
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has issued an update advising that since myrtle rust was found in New Zealand earlier this year, there has not been a single feijoa plant found with the infection.
MPI has taken samples from feijoa plants in nurseries and home gardens where other plants are infected with the disease and the feijoa plants were clear. This information, combined with Australian data showing feijoas appear to be resistant, has led to MPI concluding that feijoas present a low risk of spreading myrtle rust to other uninfected myrtle plants. Read more here.