Disease Management

Phytophthora Dieback

CAN019 smallPhytophthora Dieback is a soil-borne pathogen that invades the root systems of susceptible plant species leading to plant death. Recent research has indicated that many different species of Phytophthora Dieback exist in Perth soils, and probably have been introduced from many parts of the world. Phytophthora Dieback infections cause vegetation communities to be significantly modified which in turn affects native animals. Phytophthora Dieback has unfortunately been introduced into many of the City's natural areas.

The City of Canning manages Phytophthora Dieback by treating infected areas with phosphite on a three yearly cycle and maintaining hygiene practices that reduce the risk of spreading the disease while staff, contractors and volunteers are working in bushland areas. The City has also installed Dieback Protection Area signs to warn visitors about the presence of dieback and has recently started planting dieback resistant seedlings to restore infected areas.

The transfer of wet soil on shoes and vehicles is the most common way that Phytophthora Dieback is spread. You can help by observing the City's Dieback Protection Area signs, walking on designated pathways, and brushing down your shoes on entry to dieback free bushland areas.

If you have bushland on your property and think you have noticed plants dying, contact the Parks Conservation Officer on 9231 0826, who can discuss dieback identification and appropriate treatment options.

Marri Canker Disease and Quambalaria Shoot Blight

Marri Canker Disease is a naturally occuring disease that has been identified as a contributing factor to the decline in health of our local Marri trees (Corymbia calophylla). The City is monitoring Marri trees for symptoms of the disease which may include large areas of cracked bark, large amounts of exuded red gum and white powdery masses on diseased areas.

Quambalaria Shoot Blight is an introduced disease from the east coast of Australia that stunts growth and attacks shoots, leaves and flower buds of Marri. The City will continue to record and report incidences of these diseases and participate in treatment trials where possible.


Botulism is a form of bacterial toxin that affects waterbirds. It is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When water conditions are favourable (warm temperatures, high organic matter and low oxygen levels) the bacteria spores multiply resulting in the production of the toxin. Waterbirds become infected by swallowing the toxin, usually by eating food containing the bacterium. Poisoned birds are usually paralysed and need to be treated immediately to avoid death.

The City of Canning helps to manage botulism by recording possible incidences of the disease and reporting them to the Department of Agriculture and Food. The City assists in the maintenance of healthy waterways through revegetation and restoration activities that help to prevent the water conditions suitable for the growth of the bacterium. The City's Natural Areas Team also help by rescuing sick birds and delivering them to appropriate wildlife shelters.

The City discourages the feeding of waterbirds because human foods can significantly increase the nutrient loading of a waterway and produce favourable conditions for the growth of the bacterium. Feeding waterbirds is also problematic as birds that become dependent on human feeding may congregate in areas and become aggressive to access more food. Furthermore, birds cannot digest human food properly which can lead to birds dying of sickness and malnutrition. The City advises against the practice of bird feeding through the use of educational signage and public media releases.

For more information see:
To Feed or Not to Feed? brochure

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