Advice for specific groups about myrtle rust
Advice for nursery operators, orchardists, beekeepers, and people planning large-scale planting and restoration programmes.
If you are planning large-scale planting and restoration programmes using myrtle plants, follow the advice in our guide. This guide was developed in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and local council representatives.
It is strongly recommended that all nursery operators follow the guidelines available from the New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI) website. NZPPI provides guidance on myrtle rust protocols and resources specifically designed for nurseries to manage myrtle rust.
Information on the fungicide regime used by nurseries registered with the New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI) as well as a range of useful guidance is on its website.
Before harvesting fruit or moving any plants, machinery, or crops from your site, inspect any myrtle plants on your property for symptoms of myrtle rust. While feijoas and guavas are considered susceptible to myrtle rust, there has been low incidence of myrtle rust on these plants in New Zealand.
As a precaution, we recommend that feijoa and guava fruit should be washed thoroughly with water at some point in the post-harvest process, before distribution. Before bringing myrtle plants or fruit onto your property, check that the site the plants are coming from has been inspected for symptoms of myrtle rust. At delivery, check for symptoms of myrtle rust before accepting them. Check the plants again after 2 to 4 weeks.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) recommends good hygiene practices irrespective of whether you have myrtle plants on your property or not. Wash equipment, machinery, clothing, and hands before moving between properties. New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI) has a range of useful guidance on its website.
The exact behaviour of myrtle rust in New Zealand conditions, and what impact it will have on mānuka, is unknown. But there is a risk that bees can transfer myrtle rust spores out of beehives. Myrtle rust spores have not been observed in honey. Our best information from the Australian experience tells us that transmission of any viable spores out of the hive is considered unlikely. In Australia, myrtle rust has not had a significant impact on mānuka or tea tree.
MPI has determined that any risk of the disease being spread through the movement of beehives is very low. Due to the low risk of myrtle rust transmission through hives, there is no need to place restrictions on the movement of beehives.
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