Sharyn Hoskin, a coastal gardener found out about Myrtle rust from her Dad a few weeks ago but only checked her trees this morning. “You hear about these things but you don’t take much notice, then all of a sudden it’s right here.” She estimates that approximately 10-15% of her plants belong to the affected groups.
“We’d be very sad if our Pohutukawas died and Feijoas are good food… I wouldn’t like to see them go.”
Hoskin told the Taranaki Thing that the response to Myrtle rust reminded her of the Cabbage tree virus a few years ago, “Everyone was really worried about it and there was a big response…The hype seems to have faded now, sometimes nature fights it’s way back… fingers crossed the same thing will happen with this.”
She believes MPI are doing a good job, although “It spreads on the wind, it’s going to be pretty hard to stop.”
Myrtle rust is the latest epidemic to hit New Zealand’s fragile Ecosystem, affecting both our native and introduced species. This week it was discovered in three sites in Taranaki: A council depot, a handful of nurseries in Waitara and on a property in Waitui. MPI are releasing daily reports on it’s spread here.
Myrtle rust on host plants. Source: MPI
Myrtle rust is native to South America, but arrived in New Zealand from Australia. Below shows it’s spread into the pacific.
To May 23 2017 (Present).
By Eli Hill.