Australian Truffle Pest & Disease Newsletter

Disease or drought?

There are quite a number of plant diseases that directly affect conductive tissue within plants. The aerial symptoms are often hard to distinguish from drought. While this means such diseases may go undetected at times of drought, the presence of drought-like symptoms at times when soil moisture is at a reasonable level, is a great indicator that something is going on that needs investigation.

These diseases may be fungal like Phytophthora cinnamomi, a fungal-like organism that is widespread in Australia and is responsible for Jarrah Dieback in Western Australia, or bacterial, like Xylella fastidiosa** – not yet found in Australia. They work in the same way by causing the tap between the roots and leaves to be turned down, or off. As a result, plants can develop wilt and dieback symptoms, which, as mentioned above, can also be seen in plants experiencing drought.

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Phytophthora infected tree

Be vigilant and get help ASAP:-

If your orchard has symptoms like this that you can’t explain, speed is of the essence. The earlier you get help to identify the cause of a problem like this, the greater the chance you have of stopping it while minimising your losses. Waiting and watching in silence, may be condemning your orchard, and maybe others around you, to maximum loss.

The Australian truffle industry is very fortunate to have access to the expertise of Associate Prof Celeste Linde, who has worked with the industry on tree diseases, tree certification and truffle identification for several years. Celeste can be reached by emailing celeste.linde@anu.edu.au .

**Xylella fastidiosa is one of the most significant emerging plant disease threats worldwide. Although it has not been found in Australia as yet, it has been officially identified as Australia’s top National Priority Plant Pest because of its potential to severely impact Australia’s plant industries and environment. A draft “National Xylella fastidiosa Action Plan” has just been released by Plant Health Australia to stakeholder groups for comment by 14 December 2018.