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Pests Diseases of Grasstrees

Pests Diseases of Grasstrees

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Published by draculavanhelsing
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Published by: draculavanhelsing on Apr 17, 2013
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04/17/2013

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For more inormation visit www.agric.wa.gov.au
The Chie Executive Ofcer o the Department o Agriculture and Food and the State o Western Australia accept no liabilitywhatsoever by reason o negligence or otherwise arising rom the use or release o this inormation or any part o it.
 
Important disclaimer
Department of
Agriculture
and
Food
Grass tree ( 
 Xanthorrhoea preissii
 )
The harvesting o grass trees or landscapinghas become very popular in recent times asthese unique specimens compliment both ormaland inormal gardens. The common grass tree
 Xanthorrhoea preissii 
 ) is endemic to Western Australia and grows naturally in sand, loam orgravelly soils to a height o our metres. They havea liespan o up to 600 years with a growth rateo only 1–2 cm per year. Under
the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act)
, it is an oence to takenative vegetation including grass trees rom publiclands or state orests. Permits are required orcommercial salvaging where the site has beenapproved or urban or industrial development.Land owners wishing to harvest grass treesrom their property, must comply with State andCommonwealth legislation.
Pests and diseases of grass trees
By Christine Castalanelli and Harald Hoffmann, Biosecurity Communications; Marc Widmer Entomology  and Peter Wood Plant Patholog
Note: 425
 April 2010
 
Structure
The trunk is composed o a mass o old lea basesheld together by natural resin which can take 10years beore it begins to orm. The centre o thetrunk is flled with a fbrous material. The needle likeoliage reduces moisture loss during periods o hotweather which makes the tree drought resistant.The root system is shallow with the main purposebeing or anchorage. Surrounding the roots aremicrobes called mycorrhiza ungi which areessential or nutrient uptake in defcient soils andalso protect roots against some pathogen ungi.
Common pests
Scale
Scale insects are sap-suckers which have eithera waxy or armoured covering. Juvenile scales(crawlers) disperse to avourable sites on the leaand start eeding. The crawlers eventually becomeimmobile, and start building their protectivecovers, but are still sucking the needles. Thisactivity, i let unchecked, may eventually kill thegrass tree. Control scale with an application owhite oil, but not during hot weather as this mayburn the plant.
Mealybugs
Mealybugs oten have a number o overlappinggenerations per year. Their development isdependent on temperatures above 25°C with highhumidity. Ater hatching, the juveniles (crawlers)search or suitable eeding sites in shelteredareas. Control is best achieved in late October atcrawler stage with a systemic insecticide suchas Imidacloprid. Populations reach peaks duringspring and autumn.
Bardi grubs ( 
Bardistus cibarius
 )
The term ‘Bardi grub’ is used to describe the larvao the Longicorn beetle ( 
Bardistus cibarius
 )
 ,
butmay also apply to other native boring larvae. A decaying trunk or a thick ‘skirt’ o dead oliageprovides the perect environment or attack bythese native borers and wood boring moths. Theemale moth lays her eggs into this oliage andthe emerging grubs bore their way into the fbrous
Mussel scale on Xanthorrhoea
 
centre o the tree. This damage disrupts the tissuethat carries water and nutrients to the crown. Insevere inestations the tree will rot and all over.There is no registered chemical control, but burningo excess oliage (thatch) every 3–4 years will makethis an unsuitable haven or pests. Burning o doeslittle damage to the green crown, as it actuallypromotes growth as it would in a natural fre.
Common diseases
Root DiseaseRoot rot ( 
 Phytophthora cinnamonni 
 )
This ungal pathogen causes the roots to rot,preventing the grass tree to take up water andnutrients. It is usually present in damp or poorlydrained soils but will also survive drought. Asa result the central leaves wilt and turn brown,causing the crown to collapse and the trunk to rot.Phosphorous acid sprays can be applied in theearly stages o decline. However as the diseasemay be present without showing symptoms,sometimes control is not successul. Phytophthoramay be in existing soil as a dormant spore orit can be introduced into the home garden via
Bardi grubs on Xanthorrhoea
contaminated soil. There have been examples oPhytophthora moving through the soil water roma higher elevated garden, to another garden at alower level some distance away aecting a varietyo susceptible plants such as roses and coniers.The Department o Agriculture and Food (AgwestPlant Laboratories 9368 3721 )can test soilsamples or a ee.
Foliage disease
There are ew oliar pathogens recorded or Xanthorrhoeas. The plants have adapted todry conditions by having thick waxy needles toprevent water loss, as well as acting as a barrier toungal attack. Foliar lea spot pathogens are morecommon on the coastal plains than urther inland.
 Anthracnose ( 
Colletotrichum xanthorrhoeae
 )
Symptoms are frst visible as black ecks in thelea tissue. These ecks develop to encompassthe entire lea and will spread to the rest o thecrown. Apply mancozeb to protect leaves romurther inection. However, i the disease hasprogressed too ar, control may be ineective.

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