This is a heavy myrtle rust infection on a rose apple (or lily pilly) tree – a plant often found in backyards and streets.
This is a heavy myrtle rust infection on a rose apple (or lily pilly) tree – a plant often found in backyards and streets. Contributed

Tree-killer warning for gardeners

THE appearance of myrtle rust in Ipswich has forced local nursery owners to remove vulnerable stock from shelves.

QT gardening expert and owner of Trevallan Lifestyle Centre Chelsea van Rijn said she had removed a number of popular plants from her nursery since the initial discovery of the fungus last year.

"I've stopped stocking plants it affects," she said.

"That's a lot of natives that a lot of people use regularly, they are quite popular plants.

A spokesman for Biosecurity Queensland said myrtle rust was first found in Ipswich in April last year.

"The first confirmed detection of myrtle rust in Ipswich occurred at a private residence," he said.

"Since this detection, Biosecurity Queensland has received further reports of myrtle rust symptoms throughout the Ipswich area resulting in an additional five confirmed cases."

Ms van Rijn said the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Industry, responsible for Biosecurity Queensland, had changed its approach to the disease in recent months.

"When it first came out wholesale nurseries where it was found were shut down," she said.

"They had to burn stock to destroy it, at the time they thought they could deal with it.

"More recently the material from DEEDI has changed from "eradicating rust" to "learning to live with rust"."

The Biosecurity Queensland spokesmen said work was being taken to control and manage myrtle rust.

"Even though the disease can't be eradicated or contained, the more Biosecurity Queensland learns about myrtle rust (including where it is and what plants it is affecting) the better it can be managed. Myrtle rust can spread rapidly because it produces large numbers of small spores that can be dispersed over long distances by wind. It can also be easily spread through contact with people and animals."



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