Treatment options for nurseries, plant traders and the bush foods industry
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 email@example.com with a photo of the suspect material and a contact phone number.
If you have myrtle rust-infected plants on your property, or are at risk of getting myrtle rust on your property, you can use one or more of the following strategies to limit the spread of the disease and ensure that stock intended for trade can be verified to be free from myrtle rust symptoms.
Use an approved fungicide
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has issued permits that allow certain fungicides to be used to:
- control myrtle rust on nursery stock (non-food) and cut flowers/foliage - Permit PER12156
- control myrtle rust on certain food-bearing crops - Permit PER13907
- 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 any of these fungicides, you must read and follow the permit conditions and product label instructions relating to the directions for use, rate of application and critical use instructions that may apply.
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.
Remove and dispose of infected plants
If nursery stock is infected with myrtle rust, those plants should not be traded or offered for sale until they have been treated with an approved fungicide and signs of active myrtle rust infection are no longer evident.
Alternatively, the infected plants may be destroyed and discarded. To minimise the potential spread of spores, spray infected plants with an approved fungicide 3-4 days before they are removed and destroyed.
To dispose of infected plants (or plant parts), either:
- bury the material on-site;
- place in general domestic waste bins or transport in a covered vehicle/trailer to a council general waste disposal site (not green waste); or
- securely cover and seal the entire plant or plant parts within black plastic (or similar) and place in direct sunlight for 3-4 weeks to kill spores (a process called solarisation).
Remove healthy plants
To reduce the risk of a significant infection developing in nursery stock, plant species known to be highly susceptible to myrtle rust can be removed prior to infection.
Healthy plants showing no signs of myrtle rust infection can be disposed of as normal green waste. If you are unsure whether plants are infected, dispose of them using the methods described for diseased plants.
Plant species known to be highly susceptible to myrtle rust can be removed from stock lists to reduce the risk of a significant infection developing on your property.
Implementing good hygiene and decontamination practices will help to control myrtle rust and prevent reinfestation:
- Learn how to identify myrtle rust and monitor stock weekly. Inform nursery workers about myrtle rust to ensure they know what it looks like and how to minimise spread.
- Implement an appropriate fungicide management program.
- After working with infected plants, wash clothing, hats and gloves, and clean any tools and equipment with water and detergent (or a disinfectant such as a benzalkonium chloride compound), before starting other activities that may infect further plants.
- Thoroughly scrub any pots, wooden stakes and other items that have been in contact with an infected plant with detergent (or apply a disinfectant) and leave them to dry completely before reusing them.
- Do not move plants that are infected with myrtle rust off your property unless you have treated them with an approved fungicide. Preferably, bag infected plants to minimise spore dispersal.
- Source plants from reputable suppliers who themselves are taking measures to manage myrtle rust. Do not propagate from plants that are infected with myrtle rust.
- Educate your clients about myrtle rust and inform them of the management practices you have implemented to help manage the disease. Responsible management of myrtle rust is everyone´s business.