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Fire, drought and phosphite: A stressful story?

Hüberli, D., Paap, T., Moore, N.A., Barrett, S., Freebury, G., Spadek, T., Dell, B. and Hardy, G.E.St.J. (2008) Fire, drought and phosphite: A stressful story? In: Dieback Information Group Conference (DIG 08), 4 July, Perth, Western Australia.


Large areas of indigenous forests, Banksia woodlands and heathlands in Australia are devastated by Phytophthora dieback disease caused by P. cinnamomi. Phosphite has been shown to be effective in controlling this pathogen on a wide range of plant species across different families. It acts both directly and indirectly on the pathogen. In order to maximise the efficacy of phosphite the physiological status of the plant at the time of phosphite application affects control needs to be understood. In Mediterranean environments, plants experience stresses due to extremes in water availability and the incidence of wild fire is high for example. Currently, nothing is known about the relative uptake of phosphite by shoots pre- and post-stress event or how stress may alter the redistribution and persistence of phosphite within woody plants. Therefore, from a management perspective when considering all of these stresses native plant communities are subjected to, it is critical to know when to apply phosphite to ensure optimal disease control. Fire and drought stresses on the efficacy of phosphite to control disease are examined independently. Management implications from the completed study are discussed.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
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