Phytophthora (pronounced Fyt-of-thora) dieback is a devastating plant disease caused by a type of water mould, Phytophthora cinnamomi. It kills many susceptible plants such as banksias, jarrah and grass trees by attacking the root system and causing them to rot. Dieback is a symptom of Phytophthora infection.
It is believed that Phytophthora was introduced to Western Australia by plants bought in with first settlers.Phytophthora causes loss of biodiversity and extinction of threatened plant and animal species. Over 40% of native species in Western Australia are at risk.
Phytophthora is spread through the movement of soil and water by vehicles including bikes, footwear and animals. Phytophthora dieback can easily be introduced to your garden from non-composted mulch, infected potting mix and nursery plants.
There is no known method to eradicate Phytophthora but we can minimise its spread and impact.
Look out for information signs around dieback infested areas and follow the instructions
Keep to designated footpaths and keep your pets on lead
Use ‘dieback hygiene stations’ where available to remove and sterilise soil from your boots and bikes
Ask nurseries if they use Phytophthora dieback control procedures and if they are accredited by the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia (NIASA)
The City implements dieback hygiene procedures for staff and contractors who move in and out of bushland reserves. Equipment and vehicles are to be cleaned-down with a methylated spirits-solution before entering bushland reserves and when leaving Phytophthora infested areas.
The City runs an annual dieback management program where a suitably qualified contractor is engaged to map the presence of Phytophthora. Any reserves that are found to be infested are then treated with Potassium Phosphite to increase plant resilience.