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Community encouraged to continue reporting myrtle rust

MORE myrtle rust has been discovered on trees purchased from local nurseries.

Gisborne District Council's biosecurity team has confirmed the discovery.

There have been multiple reports from the community about suspected myrtle rust occurrences, including on bottlebrush trees that were bought locally.

GDC principal scientist Dr Murry Cave advises anyone who has bought bottlebrush plants recently to check them for signs of myrtle rust.

“The damage can include a bright yellow growth on the stems or leaves, or discoloured leaves with brown spots which may have small yellow flecks. If there are even small indications of damage, contact council so that the plant can be checked by specialist staff,” he said.

“We have expected these additional finds. The active reporting from the public is encouraging, as is the fact that most confirmed finds have been in plants that would have been purchased from a nursery, which improves the chances of managing the outbreak.

“We are working on strategies for dealing with myrtle rust locally. It is important that people inspect any myrtle rust species on their property and let us know if they find it.”

Myrtle rust can affect all trees belonging to the broader myrtle species including Australian tea tree, rata, feijoa, bottlebrush, guava, willow myrtle and monkey apple.

The spores are microscopic and can easily spread across large distances by wind, or from insects, birds, people or machinery.

The best way to report it to GDC is by using the GDC Fix app, which allows users to accurately map the location and attach photos, or alternatively call customer services.

The MPI guide to identifying myrtle rust can be found at tinyurl.com/4jp5acv7

KEEP CHECKING: Myrtle Rust was found on bottlebrush plants bought from a local nursery.Picture by Murry Cave