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Time to check for myrtle rust

Thursday 24 February, 2022

Council’s principal scientist Dr Murry Cave is reminding people to check for myrtle rust after the fungal disease was found on a store-bought plant in Gisborne this month.

Myrtle rust is identified as a bright yellow growth on the stems or leaves, or discoloured leaves with brown spots which may have small yellow flecks.

Dr Cave says even if you can only see small indications of damage, please contact the Council so the plant can be checked by specialist staff.

“Active reporting from the public helps stop the spread of this disease,” he says.

Left unchecked the infection spreads quickly and can result in the death of the plant or tree.

"It's important that people inspect any myrtle species on their properties and let us know if they find traces of rust."

Myrtle rust can affect all trees belonging to the broader myrtle species including Australian tea tree, rata, feijoa, bottle brush, 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 Council is using the GDC Fix app, which allows users to accurately map the location and attach photos, or alternatively call customer services.

Council’s website has a guide to identifying myrtle rust.