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Tree Injection Fights Silverleaf

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology
For immediate release

TREE INJECTION FIGHTS SILVERLEAF

A quick and effective cure for silverleaf - a fungal disease endemic in New Zealand fruit trees - is in sight thanks to a new treatment devised by Chemcolour Industries (NZ) Ltd of Auckland. The treatment entails drilling a hole into a diseased tree and injecting a fluid into the core under high pressure. The defensive response knocks out the disease. "It's simple, fast and needs to be done only once," Chemcolour manager Ian Dorset says. The product, called "Treet", consists of a synthetic version of a salt of hydroxy benzoic acid, which occurs naturally in the tree, and an injector with handles like a hedge clipper that pumps the liquid in. "We've been testing the fluid and injector market for six years now," Mr Dorset says. "We've already found that many trees previously thought unsaveable have been brought back from death's door." Silverleaf is an airborne fungal disease that enters trees and shrubs through pruning wounds. It shows as a silvery sheen on leaves. Fungal toxins growing in the tree's sap cause leaf cells to separate and lose air, fluid and food particles, killing them. Root growth is retarded and fruit production is poor. Eventually the tree dies. Control of silverleaf will be of considerable benefit. Mr Dorset says the product will be aimed at commercial orchardists, who could also help avoid silverleaf by using good root-stock from nurseries and employing good pruning techniques. Chemcolour is developing other uses for the injector, including for the treatment of avocados and grapes. Mr Dorset says the company is following up interest expressed in Australia, the United States and Europe. The treatment was devised thanks to a project supported by Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology - and with the help of HortResearch's engineering development group.

-ends-

Contact: * Ian Dorset, Chemcolour Industries (NZ) Ltd, 26 Poland Rd, Glenfield, Auckland 10. Ph (09) 444-4650. Fax: (09) 443-1047. Email: iand@chemcolour.co.nz * Nigel Metge, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 454-095. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525. Email: ian@idcomm.co.nz


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