Myrtle Rust Update

9 June 2017

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As of Thursday evening, MPI have 41 confirmed myrtle rust finds; 35 in Taranaki, 4 in Northland and 2 in Waikato (Te Kuiti).

The affected sites include private gardens (26), nursery (8), commercial (1), depot (1), golf course (1), orchard (1), retailer (1), and public land (2).

The plant species that myrtle rust has been detected on include: Lophomyrtus (17), Metrosideros (19), Syzygium (2), Eucalyptus (1) and Leptospermum (1). Myrtle rust has not been confirmed on feijoa.

MPI continue to be firmly focused on containing and eradicating myrtle rust and NZPPI thoroughly endorses this course of action.

NZPPI Myrtle Rust Risk Management Protocols

Today we’ve reviewed and updated our protocols limiting recommended fungicide treatments to myrtaceae species only.

Last week we extended the recommendation to include all plant species. This arose in response to new information on risk of other plants (non-myrtaceae) harbouring myrtle rust. We have since established this risk is very low, considered feedback from some plant producers around practicality and affordability considerations, and considered more recent technical advice and developments in the response.

Our recommendations have reverted to treatments being limited to myrtaceae species only, and asking producers to stay vigilant with general hygiene and crop protection practices across their whole operation.

Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.

We’ve also taken this opportunity to refine several other parts of the protocols, and the following documents have been updated on our website:

  • Nursery Management Declaration (Word | PDF) – nursery protocol signoff to accompany plant shipments (9/6/17)
  • Nursery Management Protocol – plant producer and nursery procedures to mitigate nursery-based risk (9/6/17)
  • Plant Transport Protocol – procedures to minimise risk of myrtle rust being spread through plant transport (9/6/17)
  • Plant Transport Declaration (Word | PDF) – transporter protocol signoff to accompany plant shipments (9/6/17)
  • Garden Retail & Landscaper Guidance – procedures for businesses who receive myrtaceae plants from nurseries (9/6/17)

We appreciate there has been strong uptake of protocols and applaud the industry for this. These protocols are an important part of both supporting the current response, and protecting our freedom to safely move plants around NZ.

Identifying Myrtle Rust

Symptoms to look out for on Myrtaceae plants are:

  • 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) on older lesions.
  • some leaves may become buckled or twisted and die off.

If you suspect Myrtle Rust

Don’t touch it or try to collect samples as this may increase the spread of this disease. Myrtle rust is readily spread by wind and can be transported on clothing, vehicles and equipment.

  • take photos e.g. of the whole plant, whole affected leaf and a close-up of the spores/affected area of the plant
  • call MPI immediately (0800 80 99 66)
  • don’t move any plants, produce or gardening equipment offsite until you hear back from MPI.


©2017 NZPPI
New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated
PO Box 3443, Wellington 6140
Level 5, 23 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington
P: 04 918 3511 | F: 04 499 9589
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