Plant diseases

Plant diseases threaten our environment, culture, health and economy.

Often it takes a long time after noticing the symptoms of a plant disease to learn its cause and the method of spreading.

This is why it's vital to clean gear like footwear and machinery, and restrict movement of plant material that may be infected.

For information on kauri dieback, see kauri dieback disease.

Dutch elm disease

Trees with Dutch elm disease. Dutch elm disease spreads quickly, is nearly always fatal, and is killing elm trees throughout the Auckland region.

This disease is usually spread by the bark beetle (Scolytus multistriatus) carrying fungal spores from tree to tree. It can also spread directly through root grafting between neighbouring trees.

All affected trees must be treated and removed safely. All equipment must be treated to ensure the disease does not spread.

Signs that trees are infected are:

  • wilting, curling, or yellowing leaves
  • dying or dead branches and trees.

In 2013, we removed the following trees affected by this disease:

  • 200 trees in Kingseat, Drury
  • 50 trees in Rogers Park, Bucklands Beach
  • 2 trees in Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga
  • 11 trees in War Memorial Park, Manukau Cemetery
  • trees were also found and destroyed on Appleby and Drury Hills Roads in Drury

Please check elm trees in your area. Contact us immediately on 09 301 0101 if you suspect cases of the disease.

We can also offer advice on how to remove infected and dying elm trees.

Myrtle rust

Leaves with Myrtle rust.Myrtle rust (Puccinia psidii) is a serious fungal disease that affects plants in the myrtle family. This fungus is not yet in New Zealand, but is present in Australia, where it affects more than 200 plant species.

If it arrives in New Zealand it could have a significant impact on plants in the Myrtle family including pohutukawa, rata, manuka, feijoa, plantation and amenity eucalypts and numerous ornamental plants.

Myrtle rust attacks young, soft, actively growing leaves, shoot tips and young stems. Initial symptoms are powdery, bright yellow or orange-yellow pustules on leaves, tips and stems.

Disease spores are easily spread by wind and on clothing and equipment and can be spread long distances.

For more information, see the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

If you see myrtle rust, contact us on 09 301 0101, or call the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 80 99 66. Do not touch it or collect samples, as this can spread the disease.

Sudden oak death

Sudden oak death is a disease caused by the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum.

It has killed thousands of oak trees in California and Oregon, United States, and is present in Europe.

Symptoms include bleeding cankers on the trunk and dieback of the foliage, sometimes leading to the death of the tree. Phytophthora ramorum also infects a great number of other plant species, such as rhododendrons, causing a non-fatal foliage disease known as ramorum dieback.

If you see symptoms of this disease, contact us on 09 301 0101.

For more information, see the Ministry for Primary Industries website.


Kiwifruit vine disease (Psa-V)

Kiwifruit vine disease (Psa-V) is caused by a bacteria which can kill kiwifruit vines.

Symptoms include angular shaped spots, often associated with a halo, brown discolouration of buds, curling of leaves and, in advanced stages of infection, leaking of red-rusty gum.  Not all symptoms appear at the same time.

The disease can be spread via windborne pollen, strong winds and heavy rainfalls, and on footwear, vehicles, orchard tools, animals and humans.

This disease is present in Auckland in the Franklin area, and we want to prevent it spreading elsewhere.  The best way to do this is to check and clean your gear and control where and how you work.  

Read more on how to prevent the spread on the Kiwifruit Vine Health website.  


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