What to do if you find myrtle rust

It is important to understand where myrtle rust has spread to and where it is active. Look out for signs of myrtle rust.

What to do if you think you see symptoms

If you think you see the symptoms of myrtle rust:

  • don't touch it
  • if you have a camera or mobile phone, take clear photos, including the whole plant, the whole affected leaf, and a close-up of the spores or affected area of the plant, and submit it to the iNaturalist website where experts can check to confirm whether your identification is correct

Capturing this information through iNaturalist or MPI means it will be available to agencies and scientists in future to analyse the rate of spread and observed impacts. Watch the video below for more information.


Long-term monitoring form and spreadsheet 

A long-term monitoring form for myrtle rust has been developed for surveillance in New Zealand.

Download the form

The form is designed to be used by a wide variety of groups who have some level of knowledge of myrtle rust symptoms and who will be monitoring symptoms on specific host trees or stands of trees over time.

Collecting the same information from both infected and uninfected plants will mean that in the future, data from different groups will be able to be compared. This will provide a better understanding of the impact and severity of myrtle rust across regions and nationally.

A centralised database for receiving information from end users who are using this form is underway. In the meantime, users can either hold their own data or send through the form (directly or scanned) to the following email address: Roanne.Sutherland@scionresearch.com

Data from any forms sent will be added to a national database when established.


Spreadsheet version of the form

This spreadsheet version of the form will assist with collection of data until an app and a centralised databased have been developed. 

Download the spreadsheet

The spreadsheet includes fields for all data in the monitoring form.

We recommend using the monitoring form in conjunction with the spreadsheet until users are familiar with the fields in the spreadsheet.

  

 

Transcript

Remember, don't touch it or try to collect samples as this may increase the spread of the disease.

Do not attempt to self-treat trees and plants with a fungicide, either for a cure or to try to prevent myrtle rust infection. We are still building a picture of whereabouts the disease is present nationally, and if people use preventative sprays, it could suppress symptoms, and prevent us from making the best management decisions for the country.

How to remove infected plant material from your property

These resources and accompanying video provides advice for landowners who choose to remove infected myrtle plants on their properties. Please note that there is no requirement to remove infected plants.

Transcript

Other actions you can take to reduce the risk of myrtle rust spread 

Arrive clean, leave clean

The forest you visit could be infected with myrtle rust without you knowing it. Before entering such areas for work or recreation, you should minimise the risk of spreading the rust by ensuring your equipment, clothing, and tools arrive clean and leave the area clean.

Buy healthy plants and prune in cool weather

Make sure myrtle plants bought for your garden are free from the symptoms of myrtle rust. Inspect the leaves and stems of plants before you buy them, and avoid buying plants that have signs of disease. 

We recommend avoiding heavy pruning during warm weather as this will encourage susceptible new growth. Instead, prune myrtles only in late autumn and early winter to avoid encouraging new growth during warm weather when myrtle rust spores are more likely to form. 

Monitor your plants

We recommend regular monitoring of myrtle plants for any sign of myrtle rust, particularly new, young growth, shoots, and seedlings.