Tassie gardeners be vigilant! MYRTLE RUST, which is having a devastating effect on many mainland Australian plants, has finally reached Tasmania. You can help to eradicate it.
Myrtle rust has been found on Lophomyrtus ‘Black Stallion’ host plants (a NZ native cultivar) near Burnie in north-west Tasmania and also in a nursery near Hobart.
Biosecurity Tasmania says that the outbreak near Burnie has been treated to stop the spread of spores and it was hoped that it has been discovered early. All exports of Myrtacaeae family plants to Western Australian and South Australia have been suspended.
Tasmanians need to check plants in their gardens for signs of a bright yellow fungus, especially on the soft new growth. Myrtaceae family plants that could succumb to the disease are both native and exotic, like myrtle, lilly pilly, bottlebrush, eucalypts, paperbark, tea tree and agonis. The fungal spores can be easily spread to other plants by wind, moving infected plants, on clothing and on machinery.
If you do see something that you’re worried could be myrtle rust, photograph the plant, note its location and contact Biosecurity Tasmania, phone (03) 6165 3785. For more information, go to the Biosecurity Tasmania website.