A Christmas tree decoration you don’t want this year
21 December 2015
The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is asking people who have bought a real Christmas tree this year to help in the fight against a disease that could potentially threaten the state's pine plantations.
Giant pine scale is an exotic insect pest that lives on the sap of pine, fir and spruce trees and is covered in white, waxy cotton-like secretions.
It was first detected in Melbourne's east earlier this year and has recently been found south-east of Melbourne at Tyabb, which is in the vicinity of some Christmas tree farms.
Victoria's Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith said the public could play a vital part in the battle against the pest.
"Operators of Christmas tree farms in the relevant area have been informed of the signs and symptoms of Giant pine scale and the reporting processes for notifying DEDJTR of a suspected infestation," Dr Vivian-Smith said.
"Several commercial Christmas tree farms within the Restricted Area have been issued permits to allow the movement and selling of un-infested host trees.
"What we'd like people to do is to have a good look at their Christmas tree once it's home and make sure they dispose of it properly after the Christmas festivities, either on-site or through local council green waste systems.
"They can help with eradication efforts by reporting any white and waxy secretions they see on their Christmas tree to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.
"Alternatively, people can email photos of the suspected pest, along with their contact phone number and location to firstname.lastname@example.org."
To find out more about Giant pine scale and view some photos of what an infested tree looks like, please visit www.vic.gov.au/giantpinescale
Categorised under: Agriculture,Biosecurity