Host removal as a potential control method for Phytophthora cinnamomi on severely impacted black gravel sites in the jarrah forest

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Forest Pathology, Volume 44, Issue 2, p.154 - 159 (2014)



Removal of living plants from an area of Eucalyptus marginata (jarrah) forest on black gravel sites infested with Phytophthora cinnamomi significantly reduced subsequent pathogen recovery. Vegetation, including trees and annual and herbaceous perennial plants, was killed on the sites by herbicide application. To determine whether this treatment efficiently eliminated P. cinnamomi, soil samples were seasonally collected and baited to test for the presence of the pathogen. There were no recoveries on treated sites in autumn, 28 months after removal of all vegetation by herbicide application. To test whether this was the result of the complete elimination of the pathogen or whether inoculum remained, regrowth on sites was not controlled after this period leading to the re-establishment of annual and herbaceous perennial species, some of which are hosts of P. cinnamomi. Recovery of P. cinnamomi after plant regrowth on the formerly treated sites indicated that for complete pathogen removal, sites need to remain free of vegetation for longer than 28 months. Overall, however, this study confirms that the pathogen is a weak saprophyte, and withdrawal of host material for a period of time may make eventual rehabilitation of these sites possible.