Pest Alert - Myrtle Rust

Myrtle Rust Management Plan

Myrtle rust disease pressure was known to exist within the natural environment across the east coast of NSW and Queensland and as far south as the Shoalhaven region in NSW and as far north as Cairns Queensland. The positive news is that the disease is yet to establish in drier climatic regions such as the ACT and western/inland regions on NSW.

There is a lot which still needs to be done to understand how we can reduce the impact of Myrtle rust to the industry, individual businesses and the environment across Australia.

As an industry we need to be mindful of our impact to other businesses, industry and the environment and implement measures which have been identified which will reduce the impact of Myrtle rust to all of us. By mid March 2011 there were 68 known Myrtle rust hosts reported within the Myrtaceae family. However, what we do not know is the susceptibility of these plants in a garden, landscape and environmental situation versus that of known infection within the optimum nursery environment where most detections have been made.

Reporting of anything suspect on non-identified hosts is important and will help the NGINA, Industry & Investment NSW and the Department of Territory and Municipal Services (Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water) determine where the disease is and what plants are susceptible to Myrtle rust. The same also applies to ACT particularly given the disease is yet to be identified in that region.

Everyone is required to report Emergency Plant Pests (not just Myrtle rust) to the Exotic Plant Pest hotline 1800 084 881 within 24hrs. This is our first defence in trying to eradicate a pest upon detection and not having to deal with an established pest for the future.

To reduce the impact of Myrtle rust, the NGINA Board has endorsed the NGIA Myrtle Rust Management Plan as mentioned in my March 2011 column. The Plan has been developed for use by production nurseries and retailers of greenlife including garden centres, greenlife markets (wholesalers), big box hardware, supermarkets, chain stores, etc.

The plan provides a detailed framework for growers and retailers to apply on-site in the management of Myrtle rust on plants from the Myrtaceae family. It is recommended that the industry apply this plan to all plants from the Myrtaceae family, not only those that have been currently identified as hosts.

As a professional and responsible industry it is appropriate that all growers, wholesalers and retailers apply the relevant strategies to manage Myrtle rust as described in this plan. You can read more and download the plan on the NGINA website www.ngina.com.au /Our Industry / Environment .

For more information on Myrtle rust go to www.industry.nsw.gov.au .