Phytophthora (dieback) Control

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Phytophthora (dieback) Control
Environmental Instruction 21.3

First Published: December 2000

5th Version: September 2015 (Note change from Operational Instruction to Environmental Instruction)

This document has been prepared by the Stormwater, Environment and Heritage unit in the Safety and Service Division. It has been approved and authorised for use by Departmental staff and its authorised agents by:

Director, Projects

Cover photographs: Native plants killed by Phytophthora on Kangaroo Island (courtesy Department of Environment and Natural Resources)

Extracts may be reproduced providing the subject is kept in context and the source is acknowledged. Every effort has been made to supply complete and accurate information. This document is subject to continual revision and may change. To ensure you have the most up to date version of this document refer to,_guidelines,_procedures

For information regarding the interpretation of this document please contact:

Stormwater, Environment and Heritage Unit, Technical Services, Asset Management

Telephone: (08) 8343 2398 Facsimile: (08) 8343 2905

Phytophthora (Dieback) Control Environmental Instruction 21.3


1. Introduction 4

2. Scope 4

3. Phytophthora control principles 5

4. Known infestations and areas potentially under threat of Phytophthora 6

a. High Potential Threat Areas 12

a. High Potential Threat Areas 12

b. Moderate Potential Threat Areas 12

b. Moderate Potential Threat Areas 12

c. Low Potential Threat Areas 13

c. Low Potential Threat Areas 13

5. Phytophthora risk assessment 13

Phytophthora Hygiene Procedures 15

6.1 High Risk Sites 15

6.1 High Risk Sites 15

6.2 Medium Risk Sites 20

6.2 Medium Risk Sites 20

6.3 Low Risk Sites 21

6.3 Low Risk Sites 21

6. References 22

APPENDIX 1. DPTI roads within Phytophthora High Potential Threat Areas 24

APPENDIX 2. Hygiene guidelines for vehicles 25


APPENDIX 3: Phytophthora Hygiene Procedure for Minor Works and Site Inspections 29

APPENDIX 4. Phytophthora Hygiene Kit 31

APPENDIX 5. Native plant species susceptible to Phytophthora 34


Phytophthora is a parasitic pathogen that lives in soil and water and attacks the roots and basal stems of plants. This pathogen has been introduced to South Australia and can cause extensive damage to native vegetation by killing or injuring native plants. There are seven species of Phytophthora known to affect native vegetation. Phytophthora cinnamomi is the species most frequently associated with dying vegetation affected by Phytophthora. The only outward sign of its presence is sickness or death of the plants it attacks.
Phytophthora is a significant threat to native flora. In South Australia dieback caused by Phytophthora has been found in a number of sites within high rainfall areas, in particular the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. Phytophthora also affects many agricultural plant species.
New infections of Phytophthora are mainly caused through human activities involving the movement of infested soil and roots, and by water. Consequently, the only way to prevent Phytophthora from spreading is by controlling these human activities. High-risk areas for Phytophthora include high rainfall areas of the state with remnant native vegetation (see Figures 1 to 4). In transport corridors, high risk activities include working in native vegetation in wet areas and low lying areas such as road verges, drains, watercourses and wetlands, and sites adjacent to significant remnant native vegetation in close proximity to known infestations.
A wide range of activities undertaken within or associated with the maintenance of transport corridors, can spread Phytophthora. These include shoulder grading, drain clearing, earthmoving, stock-piling, vegetation control, extraction of raw materials, off-road vehicle use, site inspections and survey works. Other activities such as firebreak construction and maintenance, fencing, drilling, land clearing and the installation of services such as power, gas, telecommunications and water can also spread the fungus.
There is no known method to eradicate Phytophthora once it has become established. The risk of spreading Phytophthora therefore should be minimised by the adoption of appropriate hygiene procedures. These hygiene procedures are identified in Section 6.


The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has a responsibility to ensure that its activities, and the activities of its contractors, do not adversely impact on the environmental assets located in transport corridors and properties that it maintains, as well as adjoining land or waters. This includes ensuring that Phytophthora is not introduced or spread by its activities along road or rail reserves, or other areas.

The risk of spread of Phytophthora can be minimised by the adoption of appropriate management procedures within the control zones, as outlined in this policy. Like all quarantine procedures they can be destroyed by even a single failure.
The goal of this Environmental Instruction (formerly referred to as an Operational Instruction) is to protect remnant vegetation by minimising the risk of introducing and spreading Phytophthora.
This Instruction applies to all activities undertaken by DPTI, contractors to DPTI, or lessees of property under the responsibility of DPTI, including:

  • routine maintenance;

  • construction;

  • field inspection and survey; and

  • landscaping and land management works.

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