Alert over blueberry rust spread

selective focus photography of black berry

BIOSECURITY Tasmania is working with two commercial blueberry farms in the north-west of the state where the serious plant disease blueberry rust has been detected.

The detection takes the number of currently infected premises to nine across the North and North-West.

These properties are all managed in accordance with BBR property management plans.

Blueberry rust causes extensive defoliation and may cause plant death in cases of severe infection.

The diligence of the growers and Biosecurity Tasmania’s statewide surveillance program led to the early detections.

Blueberry rust is present in low levels in Tasmania and Biosecurity Tasmania has been working closely with nursery operators and commercial berry growers for several years to minimise its impact.

“Biosecurity Tasmania is working closely with the two properties and is continuing monitoring activities. Our first priority is to contain the rust to the properties,” Biosecurity Tasmania acting general manager Michael Askey-Doran said.
“Restrictions on the movement of fruit and plant material, equipment, staff and visitors are in place to help contain the rust and we will work with the owners to develop a site management plan.”

Biosecurity Tasmania has also begun tracing investigations and will start further surveys on the properties to determine the extent of the infection.

“This is also a good reminder that all Tasmanians should remain vigilant for signs of blueberry rust, including in home gardens,” Mr Askey-Doran said.
“Check your blueberry plants, the blueberries you pick or purchase, and be on the lookout for signs of discolouration on the top and bottom sides of leaves.” Suspect plants should not be disturbed or moved.

Anyone who suspects blueberry rust should contact Biosecurity Tasmania on (03) 6165 3777. More information, including signs and symptoms, is at www.