Dieback

Find out about dieback, its impact on our environment and what's being done to control it.

 

What is Dieback?

Phytophthora Dieback is an introduced water mould that lives in soil and plant tissue. It kills susceptible vegetation by causing root rot and stopping the transfer of water and nutrients up the stem of the plant. Phytophthora Dieback can be found in suburban gardens, landscaped areas, golf courses, plant nurseries with poor hygiene practices, horticultural plantations and bushland.

More information on dieback can be found at the Dieback Working Group website.

 

Which species does it affect?

It has a deadly impact on many native species, including Eucalyptus, Banksia and Casuarina. It can also infect regular garden plants such as apple, peach, apricot and avocado trees, grapevines, camellias, azaleas, roses, proteas and rhododendrons.

 

How is it spread?

Phytophthora Dieback spreads via the movement of spores through wet soil and from plant to plant through their root systems. Human activity in infested areas is the main method by which diseased soil is moved from place to place. It can also be spread by movement of infested gravel, road construction, animals and off-road vehicles. The risk of spread is greatest during spring and autumn.

 

Dieback Control in the City of Melville

The City of Melville is actively engaged in managing the impact and spread of dieback. Although there are effective treatments to slow the spread of Phytophthora Dieback, there is no known method to eradicate the pathogen.

Dieback in the City of Melville has been confirmed in the following locations:

  • Wireless Hill Park
  • Ken Hurst Park
  • Blue Gum Lake
  • Attadale Quarantine Reserve
  • Len Shearer Reserve
  • Beasley Reserve
  • Ron Carrol Reserve
  • Douglas Freeman Park
  • Bill Brown Reserve
  • Peter Ellis Park
  • Robert Weir Park
  • Richard Lewis Reserve
  • Piney Lakes Reserve

 

Phosphite Treatment

In the City of Melville, native vegetation is treated using phosphite, a biodegradable, non-toxic fungicide that boosts a plants defence and enables it to survive being infected by Phytophthora pathogens. Phosphite does not eradicate the disease, it only suppresses the symptoms.

 

Other Control Measures

The City of Melville has implemented a number of dieback control initiatives in bushland areas where dieback is present. This includes:

  • Installation of boot cleaning stations at Wireless Hill Reserve, Attadale Reserve and Piney Lakes Reserve.
  • Dieback hygiene kits are made available for community group use in susceptible areas and are used by the Environmental Services department who work in our bushlands
  • Mapping and treatment of our bushland reserves on a three yearly cycle to monitor the occurrence and spread of the disease
  • Signage to mark out dieback infected areas
  • Fencing to restrict access where there is high risk of dieback being spread
  • Development of hygiene guidelines applicable to staff, contractors and the community who work in bushland areas.

 

What can you do?

There are a number of things you can do to help stop the spread of dieback:

  • Adhering to signage, staying on paths and respecting fences in bushland areas
  • Asking for dieback-free plants, gravel, potting mix, mulch and soil at your local nursery or garden centre.
  • Community members can get involved in protecting their local bushland areas