Myrtle Rust vigilance needed over summer
Biosecurity Advisory 29/2015
Tasmanians are urged to lookout for signs of myrtle rust to ensure any new detections of the fungal disease can be dealt with swiftly and effectively.
Warm summer temperatures and humid conditions create an ideal environment for myrtle rust. As at 10 December 2015 there is no evidence of the disease in the wild.
It is crucial the community and plant nurseries remain vigilant for the tell-tales signs such as bright yellow rust pustules on soft growing tips of Myrtaceae leaves and stems.
Biosecurity Tasmania recommenced its myrtle rust surveillance program in October and is continuing its response to eradicate the disease from the state. The disease can lie dormant during the cooler months, appearing as grey lesions on stems and leaves of infected plants but with the onset of warm weather Biosecurity Tasmania is asking everyone to be watchful.
Myrtle rust (Puccinia psidii) only affects plants species of the Myrtaceae plant family such as willow myrtle, lophomyrtus, teatree, bottlebrush, eucalypts and paperbark. It is present in Victoria, New South and Queensland.
It was detected in northwest Tasmania in February this year and, following a biosecurity alert, was discovered at numerous premises.
Biosecurity Tasmania works closely with nurseries to ensure suspicious signs of the disease are reported immediately. It has requested that nursery staff are fully aware of the disease signs and that they ensure their tools, equipment and clothing, and work surfaces are cleaned and maintained to reduce inadvertent movement of myrtle rust spores.
It is important to note that there are no human health risks associated with this plant disease.
If you see what you think might be myrtle rust, please take a photograph, record the location and details of the suspected plant and contact the Myrtle Rust Hotline (03) 6165 3785
More information about myrtle rust can be found on the DPIPWE website: http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/biosecurity/plant-biosecurity/pests-and-diseases/myrtle-rust
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
GPO Box 44 HOBART Tasmania 7001
Phone: 03 6165 3777