Myrtle rust risk still high
Remember to check myrtle rust plants this summer to help track the spread of the disease. Myrtle rust is likely to be more active during warmer weather and is likely to spread to new areas where it hasn't been seen before.
New Zealand's precious native myrtle plants including pōhutukawa, rātā, mānuka, kānuka and ramarama are vulnerable to the disease. The fungus, which is mainly spread by wind, generally infects shoots, buds, and young leaves of myrtle plants. Infected plants show typical symptoms including bright yellow powdery spots on the underside of leaves.
If you think you see symptoms of myrtle rust remember to not touch the plant or collect samples but take pictures and report it to Biosecurity New Zealand on 0800 80 99 66.
As of December 2018, the disease has been confirmed on more than 800 properties across most of the North Island and upper areas of the South Island. The Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, and Auckland are the most seriously affected areas.
Biosecurity New Zealand and the Department of Conservation (DOC) are currently working in partnership to identify ways to best manage the disease and support the health of our myrtles in the future. In the meantime, it is important to understand where the rust has spread to, what plants it is affecting (especially new ones) and where it is active.
A map of areas where myrtle rust has been found in New Zealand and resources on what to look for, what to do if you find myrtle rust and how to manage it are available on the Biosecurity New Zealand website.