An eagle-eyed Ovens Valley grower who was concerned about a chestnut tree on their property has helped Agriculture Victoria confirm the presence of chestnut blight.
Victoria’s Chief Plant Health Officer Gabrielle Vivian-Smith said a small tree with a canker was sampled and found to be infected with chestnut blight.
“Agriculture Victoria moved quickly to contain the spread of the disease and destroyed all host trees within 10 metres of the infected tree,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.
An immediate survey of all other host trees on the property found no other infections.
“Chestnut blight has been under an eradication program in north east Victoria since November 2010.
“The affected property was surveyed in May 2016, but symptoms were not evident at that time. It is believed recent wet conditions were responsible for the disease re-emerging from beneath the bark.
“This latest finding of the disease demonstrates how difficult it is to find. The disease can lie dormant in trees, sometimes for years, waiting for the right conditions to emerge.”
Agriculture Victoria is urging all chestnut growers in north east Victoria to examine their chestnut trees for any signs of chestnut blight and report any suspicious symptoms, in the pursuit of effectively eradicating the disease.
Dr Vivian-Smith said Agriculture Victoria will be surveying chestnut trees in the Wandiligong and Eurobin areas in the coming weeks to ensure there are no further emerged infections in the area.
“It is vital to find every infected tree now. With the current weather conditions being favourable, prompt detection and reporting is crucial.
“Agriculture Victoria is committed to the chestnut blight eradication campaign.”Any suspicious chestnut cankers can be reported directly to Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officer Amy Moore on (02) 6043 7900 or 136 186. Suspect chestnut blight detections can also be reported to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.