Phytophthora taxon Agathis (PTA)
Commonly known as kauri dieback, Phytophthora taxon Agathis (PTA) is a microscopic fungus-like plant pathogen (a disease causing agent) that only affects kauri. Recent research has identified PTA as a distinct and previously undescribed species of Phytophthora.
Kauri dieback is believed to be a soil-borne species spread by soil and soil water movement, plant to plant transmission through underground root-to-root contact, and human and animal vectors.
Symptoms include yellowing of foliage, loss of leaves, canopy thinning and dead branches. Affected trees can also develop lesions that bleed resin, extending to the major roots and sometimes girdling the trunk as a ‘collar rot'. Kauri dieback can kill trees and seedlings of all ages.
A collaborative response to address kauri dieback has been underway since late 2008 that includes MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, Auckland Council, Northland Regional Council, Environment Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Council. These agencies have been working together as one team to ensure the integrity of kauri ecosystems remains, to protect high value kauri areas and iconic kauri trees.
In late October 2009 the Government announced funding of a long term management programme for kauri dieback. The six government agencies are working together with Maori on a programme that manages the threat of the disease.
The five year programme will cover research into the detection and spread of kauri dieback and methods to control it. A public awareness campaign to arrest its spread will also be developed.
For more information, or to report any suspect sightings of diseased kauri on public or private land, phone the Kauri Dieback Management Team on 0800 NZ KAURI (69 52874) or visit the website www.kauridieback.co.nz
Page last updated: 11 November 2010