A diverse range of Phytophthora species are associated with dying urban trees

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Urban Forestry & Urban Greening (2013)




Surveys of dying vegetation within remnant bushland, parks and gardens, and streetscapes throughout the urban forest of Perth and the South-west of Western Australia revealed symptoms typical of those produced by Phytophthora species. A total of nine Phytophthora species, including P. alticola, P. multivora, P. litoralis, P. inundata, P. nicotianae and P. palmivora were isolated. In addition, three previously undescribed species, Phytophthora aff. arenaria, Phytophthora aff. humicola and Phytophthora sp. ohioensis were isolated. Isolates were recovered from a wide range of native and non-native host genera, including Agonis, Allocasuarina, Brachychiton, Calothamnus, Casuarina, Corymbia, Dracaena, Eucalyptus, Ficus, Pyrus and Xanthorrhoea. Phytophthora multivora was the most commonly isolated species. Out of 230 samples collected 69 were found to be infected with Phytophthora. Of those 69, 54% were located within parks and gardens, 36% within remnant bushland, and 10% within streetscapes. These pathogens may play a key role in the premature decline in health of the urban forest throughout Perth, and should be managed according to the precautionary principle and given high priority when considering future sustainable management strategies.


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