Beware Myrtle Rust

AllRound Tree Services warns against the myrtle rust fungus

Myrtle rust is a serious biosecurity problem that is now here, and unfortunately it is probably here to stay. It is a plant disease caused by the exotic fungus Austropucinia psidii, and is very easily spread by wind, animals and human activity. Myrtle rust originated in South America and arrived in Australia around 2010. It has now spread all the way up the eastern seaboard. The fungus affects the iconic myrtle family of native trees, which includes all of the eucalypts (Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora) and paperbarks (Melaleuca).

Although myrtle rust is harmless to humans and animals, it is deadly to native trees. This means it is decimating some wild natives that were once common, such as the native guava (Rhodomyrtus psidioides). Myrtle rust has now been in south-east Queensland since December 2010, and could affect your own native trees of the myrtle family.

Here is AllRound’s guide to recognising it and what to do next if you find it on your trees.

How to recognise myrtle rust:

  • a bright yellow discolouration or raised spots on the leaves of your trees
  • deformed leaves and trees
  • trees losing their leaves
  • dieback and stunting
  • trees dying

What to do if you find or suspect myrtle rust on your trees:

Above all, do not do anything to risk spreading this highly mobile disease.

If you suspect a tree on your property is infected, do not move it. Instead, you should Contact AllRound Tree Services immediately. We will then advise you about the appropriateness of fungicide and/or safe removal and disposal of infected plants.

Do not be tempted to use infected plants as mulch. This is because it spreads the infected plant material – and may spread the myrtle rust fungus.

Talk to your neighbours, family and friends about myrtle rust. Spread the word not the disease.

Report your find to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. And be sure to contact AllRound Tree Services for all your treating, removal and disposal needs for myrtle rust infected trees.