Phytophthora control is good business.
30 March 2015
Phytophthora(pronounced fy-TOFF-thora) also known as root rot fungus, is a serious threat to our native plants and threatens the survival of animals depending on plants for food and shelter. The disease attacks the roots of a range of plants, eventually killing them and there is no known cure. Unfortunately it is already established on Kangaroo Island but its further spread can be reduced by observing some basic practices.
Contaminated soil is the highest risk for spreading the disease so removing soil from footwear, vehicles, equipment and machinery prior to travelling to another location on the island is the most effective way to reduce the likelihood of spread. When travelling on the island, keep to designated roads and walking trails where possible. If there are foot cleaning stations provided, please use them and encourage others to do the same.
Natural Resources Kangaroo Island is ensuring that all staff who undertake field work or site visits clean and disinfect their footwear, vehicles and equipment between sites and before returning to the office.
Some utility providers working on Kangaroo Island have also committed to assisting in reducing the spread of Phytophthora. Tim McCullough, Environment Manager for SA Power networks has recently conducted Phytophthora awareness training with operational staff on KI.
‘As part of our commitment to reducing environmental impacts, our field staff are trained and equipped in reducing phytophthora spread by following procedures for cleaning and disinfection. We have standard operating procedures that describe how to clean and disinfect our equipment and footwear, and our staff ensure they follow these procedures. They are also alert for declared weeds and feral species, which they report to Natural Resources KI’ he said.
Phytophthora can also be spread through plants that have been removed from roadsides or sourced from nurseries with poor hygiene practices. Do not remove plants from roadsides or other areas for planting on your property as this could introduce the disease or weed seeds. Natural Resources Kangaroo Island has a range of native Kangaroo Island plants available from its nursery that are Phytophthora free and propagated in sterile potting soil.
Has your business or organisation considered the actions it can take to help limit the spread of Phytophthora on Kangaroo Island? If you would like advice about this, or to obtain further information about Phytophthora, please contact us.