New Taranaki myrtle rust infestation threatens riparian planting scheme
A riparian planting initiative on dairy farms is threatened with the discovery of myrtle rust at a native plant collection depot in Taranaki.
The number of properties in Taranaki with myrtle rust had jumped to six, with three further three locations confirmed positive with the plant infection on Saturday, the Ministry for Primary Industries reported.
The updated list included residential gardens in Waitara, north of New Plymouth near the original nursery, and in Waitui, in eastern Taranaki.
The third location is a Taranaki Regional Council-run plant depot which supplies plants to farmers for riparian planting.
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The riparian plant depot has now been closed and is under treatment.
There are four other similar plant depots in Taranaki and movement of plants from these sites has been restricted while investigations continue.
Taranaki Regional Council supplied hundreds of thousands of native plants to farmers at cost.
The plants added to the thousands of kilometres of stream bank and wetlands already fenced and planted by farmers to protect and enhance Taranaki's waterways.
Farmers will not be able to collect trees next week and would be alerted by the regional council.
The number of known affected properties nationwide is now eight, including a nursery and adjoining residential property in Kerikeri.
The Ministry for Primary Industries expected to continue to find new locations of infection, as the most likely scenario was that the fungal spores entered New Zealand from Australia on high winds.
All infected properties are 'restricted places', meaning there are restrictions on the movement of plants or other risk materials from the sites.
Locations are being treated with fungicide, risk plants are being destroyed, and surveillance is under way in the areas surrounding the properties for signs of the disease.
MPI encouraged the public to report any suspected signs of myrtle rust to the Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
It warned not to touch the rust or plant, but instead to take photos and report the location.
- Taranaki Daily News