Myrtle rust is now across NZ - what this means for plant producers.
The weekly reports on the spread off myrtle rust have hit 600 sites, clearly showing that the disease is now widespread across New Zealand. Most areas that have the climatic conditions for myrtle rust now have the disease.
This was expected, but the spread has happened much faster than the experts expected, and we are now very much living with this disease.
NZPPI has been preparing for this scenario over the past few months. We have been working on the basis that plant producers can effectively manage myrtle rust in their nurseries by implementing good management practices, even in areas where the disease is widespread.
Our work includes strengthening the myrtle rust protocols and increasing the visibility of nurseries that have implemented practices to manage myrtle rust, through the NZPPI myrtle rust declaration process. This process gives confidence to plant buyers and the wider community that nurseries are not a source of the disease.
Our current work is about managing the disease within the nursery and building trust with customers and the public that we are able to do this effectively
The rate of new infections will slow as temperatures drop over winter. This is an opportunity to plan for the next phase, including preparing for more nurseries to find the disease as it becomes more common in the environment, and improving our preparedness and ability to respond when this happens.
Living with myrtle rust:
- The risk of the spread of myrtle rust from well managed nurseries is negligible. The disease is mostly spread by wind.
- We do not believe that restricting the movement of plants from well managed nurseries will reduce the spread of myrtle rust.
- Nurseries play a critical part in the long-term management of the disease.