Myrtle rust in Te Puke

15 June 2017

KVH is helping mobilise support for experts determining the extent of the myrtle rust incursion in Te Puke.

A Te Puke woman contacted the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to report myrtle rust-like symptoms on a ramarama tree on her property.

KiwiNet received a request from AsureQuality and MPI to provide resources to assist with the response in the Te Puke area. We were happy to oblige, had a good response from our networks and were pleased to have been able to provide the resources required.

Myrtle rust is a fungal infection that can travel long distances in the wind and attacks plants of the Myrtaceae family. It doesn’t affect kiwifruit but could affect iconic New Zealand plants like pōhutukawa, kānuka, mānuka and rātā, as well as commercially-grown species such as eucalyptus, guava and feijoa.

Although myrtle rust doesn’t affect kiwifruit vines, growers will want to check any Myrtaceae plants on their property.

Look 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.

If you see any of these symptoms, call MPI immediately on 0800 80 99 66. Take a photo but don’t touch or take samples as this might increase spread of the disease.

This discovery should not impact movement of kiwifruit plants from nurseries unless they are growing or selling myrtle rust host material (Myrtaceae species). Those nurseries need to follow the myrtle rust protocols for nurseries on the New Zealand Plant Producers Inc (NZPPI) website.