On defence against Dieback

The wildflower season is upon us again, and those who are lucky enough will be joining the tourists in the Northern Agricultural Region.

Sadly, our region and many native plants, in particular our banksia communities, are under threat from Phytophthora Dieback (Dieback), a highly invasive plant disease causing root-rot.

The disease can result from the introduction of soil-borne water mould and early symptoms of dieback infection include wilting, yellowing and retention of dried foliage and darkening of root colour.

This eventually leads to the death of the plant, especially during our dry summers.

Candlestick banskia found in the Northern Agricultural Region
Banksia attenuata found in the Northern Agricultural Region

Often when Dieback spreads through an area, many plants succumb to the disease which changes wildlife habitats and consequently many animals and birds are affected.

To help combat this, a group of not-for-profits, including South Coast Natural Resource Management and the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, as well as businesses and government departments have been working with local community members on Project Dieback.

Project Dieback aims to help protect our most significant areas of bush and wildflowers from the threat of Dieback.
The group recently identified the ‘Top 100 Priority Protection Areas’ (PPA) for Dieback management and investment – 20 of which were recognised in our region.

South Coast NRM’s Donna Rayner said many people did not realise Dieback could hit a little closer to home.

“Few people realise that it’s not only banksias, hakeas, mulga (grass trees) and buttercups which are susceptible to Dieback, but some of our backyard plants like roses, citrus trees and azaleas that are also affected,” she said.

“Dieback can be brought home mainly through the movement of infected soil, mulches and potting mix.

“In the bush it is often spread on boots, vehicles or machinery. Thankfully our region doesn’t have many infested areas of Dieback, so reducing the risk of its spread ensures the survival of our bush.”
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For those who work in the bush and along road sides, Project Dieback is running a Green Card workshop on 8 September, between 9:30 am – 1pm at Jurien Bay Civic Centre, Bashford St to help more community members manage Dieback areas.

For further information contact: Donna Rayner E: DonnaR@southcoastnrm.com.au M: 0427 928 525

The project is funded by the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

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