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Our magnificant taonga, Kauri, are being attacked by a disease for which there is no cure.
Being an ancient species of tree, kauri unfortunately do not have the ability to ward off the nasty new invader that causes kauri dieback (Phytophthora agathidicida). Sadly, once infected, the tree will die.
It is up to all of us to help prevent the spread of this deadly incurable disease.
Kauri dieback can be found on Great Barrier Island, in Northland and Auckland and, in 2014, it was confirmed to be on the Coromandel. Fortunately, other than the Coromandel sites (Whangapoua & Hukarahi) no other sites have been identified in the Waikato region.
Kauri dieback is caused by a tiny microscopic organism which lives in the soil, known as Phytophthora agathadicida. The disease is specific to kauri trees and kills them by destroying their feeding roots, which in turn starves the tree to death.
The main symptoms you might see is a thinning canopy, or bleeding around the base of the tree.
|A thinning canopy with only outer leaves remaining||Gum bleeds at the base of the tree's trunk|
|Yellow and/or browning leaves||Typically the bleeds will be an upside down U from the ground|
|Retained dead branches|
Kauri can exhibit these symptoms for other reasons as well. The best way to find out for sure if a tree has kauri dieback is to have regional council staff take soil samples and have them analysed. To do this phone 0800 NZ KAURI (0800 695874).
The disease is spread through soil - even a pin prick of soil can shift the disease. The main movers of the disease are thought to be people, pigs, and cattle, but really anything that can move soil can also move the disease.
The best way to stop the spread is to prevent any soil movement. This means:
Want to know more? Head to www.kauridieback.co.nz(external link)
The organism which causes kauri dieback is a new-to-science organism called Phytophthora agathadicida.
This soil-borne organism specifically affects kauri trees and kills them by destroying their feeding roots, effectively starving the tree to death. Although the disease is new -to-science (formally identified in 2009), the disease is known to have been infecting kauri since the 1950's.
These organisms are tiny: 3 microns or three ten thousandths of a millimetre.