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Published: 2014-10-14 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council has been able to rule out the disease kauri dieback as the cause of problems with kauri at the Waipa District Council-managed Gudex Memorial Park near Cambridge.

There had been concern that a number of trees may have been affected by the disease which has afflicted kauri in Northland, Auckland and, more recently, parts of the Coromandel Peninsula.

A local Cambridge resident had reported that two trees within the Gudex Kauri Grove were exhibiting a slight change in colour in their leaves and wanted to ensure that kauri dieback was not responsible for the change.

Regional council biosecurity officer Jeanie Allport, a member of the national kauri dieback programme’s operations team, has been able to rule out kauri dieback as a cause of these problems.

“The kauri were at the mercy of a recent spate of strong winds and this means the trees have had to do a lot of bending. That can result in cracks to their bark and some little sap bleeds can occur where the cracks had arisen.

“It’s good to be able to rule out kauri dieback but we thank the member of the public for being so vigilant and encourage others to keep an eye out for signs of the disease,” said Ms Allport.

Kauri dieback is caused by a microscopic fungus-like organism called Phytophthora taxon Agathis (PTA) which is spread through microscopic spores in soil and water.

This disease infects kauri roots and damages the tissues that carry nutrients and water within the tree. This basically starves the tree to death. Symptoms include yellowing leaves, canopy thinning, dead branches and bleeding gum at the base of the trunk. All infected trees die. More information on kauri dieback is available at www.kauridieback.co.nz

Meanwhile, Ms Allport also carried out an inspection of Rotary’s kauri grove on Shakespeare Avenue, Cambridge, which had previously suffered severely at the hands of the last two dry, hot summers.

Dead kauri there have been replaced and the track rerouted so that people no longer walk close to the kauri trees’ roots (treading on roots can cause damage to the trees).

“Waipa District Council have done a great job in re-routing the track and are grateful from the support provided by Rotary,” said Ms Allport.

“This will mean that the kauri at Shakespeare Avenue will be less stressed than previously and will have a fighting chance to grow into a grove as strong and healthy as those at Gudex reserve.”