THE Department of Agriculture and Food has quarantined properties across Perth after the discovery of an exotic plant pest.
Tomato potato psyllid has been detected in Perth commercial crops and backyard gardens north and south of the river, including chilli plants grown on a Palmyra property.
Department acting chief plant protection officer Sonya Broughton said officers were working with the horticulture industry to respond to the situation.
“A pest has been detected in a capsicum crop in a commercial property north of Perth, backyard tomatoes and eggplants in Belmont, backyard tomatoes at two properties in Mt Hawthorn and in chillies at a property in Palmyra,” Dr Broughton said.
“The department has quarantined the impacted properties to restrict the movement of vegetable and plant material off these properties.
“This is the first time the psyllid has been detected in Australia.”
This insect pest is a significant production pest in the US, Central America and New Zealand.
Tomato potato psyllid attacks a range of plants in the solanaceae family, including potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo, along with sweet potato.
Dr Broughton said department officers were surveying Perth properties to determine the location of the pest.
“Symptoms of damage on plants can include stunting, yellowing and purpling of leaves, distorted leaf growth and stem death,” she said.
“Growers who suspect the pest is on their property are advised not to spray for the pest or disturb plants until their crops have been surveyed and an appropriate treatment has been identified.”
Commercial vegetable producers and backyard growers are urged to check for signs of the psyllid and report anything unusual to the department’s MyPestGuide Reporter app.
Reporting options are also available from mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au or by contacting the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 084 881.