Myrtle rust leaves uncertainty over pōhutukawa trees

The AM Show 20/03/2018

Myrtle rust has officially spread to Manawatu, with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) reporting the fungus found in Palmerston North.

Myrtle rust is a fungal disease that affects plants in the myrtle family, which includes pōhutukawa, mānuka and rātā.

Dr Catherine Duthie from MPI told The AM Show that the disease could affect the North Island and parts of the South Island.

“We don’t yet know what the end result will be in New Zealand,” she said.

Myrtle rust appears powdery and yellow.

Dr Duthie said there haven’t been any pōhutukawa trees deaths yet, as it can take up to several years for individual trees to die.

So far, over 400 properties have been affected by myrtle rust.

If you think you've seen myrtle rust, don't touch it, take a photo, and call 0800 80 99 66.

Watch the full interview with Dr Catherine Duthie above. 

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.