What is Dieback Disease?
Dieback is the common name used for the plant disease caused by the organism Phytophthora cinnamomi (Pc). It was often referred to as jarrah dieback because jarrah is the most obvious species affected by the disease, however scientists now estimate over 2000 native plant species in Western Australia could be susceptible to Pc. Sites at risk include banksia woodlands, coastal heaths and the Stirling Ranges, so today the disease is more properly referred to as Phytophthora dieback. Pc is believed to have been brought into Western Australia soon after European settlement. The symptoms of the disease were first seen in the 1920s, but the cause was not discovered until the mid 1960s. Pc spores are spread through the soil and water, but not in the air. The warm and moist conditions in spring and autumn provide ideal conditions for Pc to grow, multiply and spread. Pc feeds on living plant roots and stems to get the nutrients it needs. The vertical roots of a plant are invaded by Pc and they c