Treatment of myrtle rust in the home garden
If you suspect you have myrtle rust on your plants, report it to Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) immediately by phoning 1800 084 881 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of the suspect material and a contact phone number.
If myrtle rust becomes established on your property, the following options can be used to limit the spread of the disease and help protect your garden plants. You may need to combine two or more of these strategies to achieve effective control.
Use an approved fungicide
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has issued permits for the use of certain fungicides to
- control myrtle rust in ornamental and non-fruit bearing Myrtaceae in home gardens - Permit PER14225
- decontaminate infected myrtle rust host plant material before disposal - Permit PER12319
It is not necessary to apply for or pay for the use of these permits.
Before using one of these fungicides, read the permit together with the product label to determine the applicable directions for use.
Please note that these chemicals are available in various pack sizes and users should avoid choosing large pack sizes (unless necessary) to avoid having to store the remaining chemical.
Check www.apvma.gov.au regularly to keep up to date with available permits.
A chemical company has submitted an application to APVMA for registration of a fungicide specifically for myrtle rust. It is anticipated that this product will soon be available to the general public.
In severely infected areas, susceptible host plants should be removed, since re-infection after fungicide application is highly likely.
Remove and dispose of infected plants
Infected plants should be removed and disposed of in a way that minimises the spread of myrtle rust.
- Spray infected and unaffected plants with a fungicide 3-4 days prior to removal. If fungicide treatment is not possible, carefully wet the plants prior to removal to dampen any spores likely to be dispersed during removal.
- Remove plants. Small plants should be enclosed in a plastic bag before being either pulled or dug out. For potted plants, the whole plant, plus the pot, should be placed into the bag and sealed.
Larger plants that do not fit in waste bins can be cut into smaller pieces, securely covered with black plastic or similar and put in a sunny place for 3-4 weeks to kill spores.
- Dispose of bagged plants by burying on-site, placing in general domestic waste bins, or transporting in a covered vehicle/trailer to a general waste disposal site (not a green waste site). Do not use infected plants as mulch.
Remove and dispose of healthy plants as a preventative measure
To reduce the risk of a significant infection developing on your property, plant species known to be highly susceptible to myrtle rust can be removed prior to infection.
Healthy plants showing no signs of infection can be discarded as normal garden waste. If you are unsure whether plants are infected with myrtle rust, use the methods outlined above for removing diseased plants.
Please note: The removal of native vegetation may require a planning permit. Residents who are considering this option should seek advice from their local council on whether or not a permit is required.
After removing and disposing of infected plants, wash clothing and clean any equipment with water and detergent before starting other activities that may infect further plants.
You can reuse pots, wooden stakes and other items that have been in contact with an infected plant. However, you should thoroughly scrub these items with detergent and water, and leave them to dry completely, before reusing them. Implementing good hygiene and decontamination practices will also aid in the control of myrtle rust.
If infected plants have been removed, replanting with similar species, or other Myrtaceae plants, may result in re-infection. Select replacement plants that are unlikely to become infected. Contact your local nursery for advice.
In bushland areas, including regeneration sites, use local plants not known to be affected by myrtle rust.