Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Nursery & garden pests


Nursery & garden | Nursery & garden best management practice | Nursery & garden pests | Nursery & garden product management


The following are some key high priority exotic pest threats for the Australian nursery production industry. Any of these pests would have serious consequences should they enter and become established in Australia. Additional information on each of these pest threats is included in the fact sheets in the Biosecurity Manual for the Nursery and Garden Industry.

For a complete list of exotic pest threats for the nursery production industry, refer to or the Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Nursery Industry, available from Nursery and Garden Industry Australia.

Information about other pests of the nursery and garden industry is available from the production nursery industry page on the Plant Health Australia website.

Guava (Eucalyptus) rust (Puccinia psidii)

guava rust

Photo by JA Rocabado, PaDIL

  • Over 100 known host plant species, mainly from the Myrtaceae family
  • Brown to grey lesions usually surrounded by yellow spores
  • Lesions develop on actively growing leaves, shoots and fruits
  • Severe infections may kill shoot tips or cause leaf distortion
  • Spread with infected plant material or through wind dispersal

Fact sheet

Glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis)

glassy winged sharpshooter-1355010

Photo by Reyes Garcia III, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

  • Wide host range of over 200 species
  • Adults (12-14 mm long) are dark brown with stippled spots on head and back, and transparent wings with reddish veins
  • Produces watery excrement, appearing as white spots, which often collects during feeding
  • Known vector of Xylella fastidiosa pathogen (Pierce’s disease), which causes leaf scorch symptoms
  • Can spread by flight or as a hitchhiker on plant material

Fact sheet

Serpentine leafminer (Liriomyza huidobrensis)

serpentine leafminer-5368098

Photo M Shepard, GR Carner, P Ooi, INEAVS in Southeast Asia,

  • Wide host range of over 40 species
  • Small (1-2.5 mm) black fly with yellow head and yellow spots on thorax
  • Larvae mine under the surface of stem or leaf tissue
  • Mines are white with dampened black and dried brown areas
  • Mines are typically serpentine, of irregular shape and increase in width as the larvae mature
  • Spread occurs with infested plant material

Fact sheet

Asian gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar)

gypsy moth-0488025

Photo by John H Ghent, USDA Forest Service,

  • Very wide host range, with over 650 known hosts
  • Egg masses laid on solid surfaces and covered in light tan fuzz
  • Mature caterpillars are large (50-65 mm long) and hairy with two rows of spots (red and blue) along their back
  • Moths have greyish-brown wings (30-40 mm wingspan) in males or white with grey markings (40-70 mm) in females
  • Causes heavy defoliation and larvae may produce webbing
  • Can spread large distances naturally or with infested plant material

Fact sheet

Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum)

sudden oak death-1427111

Photo by Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service,

  • Infects over 130 tree and shrub species
  • Symptoms in shrubs: blackened shoots, diffuse dark brown spots or blotches with fuzzy margins, starting at the leaf tip
  • Symptoms in trees: stem canker with red to black thick sap oozing on the bark surface. Stem necrosis leads to the death of whole crown
  • Spread with infected plant material, or water, growing media and compost that has been in contact with infected plants

Fact sheet

Poinsettia thrips (Echinothrips americanus)

Poinsettia thrips 2

Photo by Lance Osborne, University of Florida,

  • Attacks over 100 species, particularly greenhouse crops
  • Adults are brown (1.6 mm in length) with red between segments
  • Feeding damage results in shallow puncture wounds on the leaves, reduced leaf size and lightening of colour
  • Black spots (faecal droppings) left on leaf surfaces
  • Potential to act as a vector of plant pathogens
  • Can spread with infested plant material

Fact sheet

More information

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