Everyone has the potential to inadvertently spread Phytophthora root rot in bushland with the movement of soil be it on vehicles or even your boots and gaiters.
As it will never be possible to fully map and advise the public where all Phytophthora root rot infections are, a few simple actions are recommended that guard against it's spread. These simple actions are equally effective in managing the spread of many other pests, weeds and diseases as well.
How to help
1. Check, Clean, Disinfect and Dry.
As a minimum Check Clean Disinfect or dry you vehicle, equipment and boots etc between trips to different locations. Wash your boots, gaiters etc in water with a little soap and rinse off. The dirty waste water may contain Phytophthora root rot or other pests and diseases so don't dispose of this on your garden. Instead tip it down a drain that connects to a septic tank or a sewage system as this will most likely destroy any Phytophthora root rot that is present. When cleaning vehicles ensure the wheel arches and underside of the vehicle are washed and commercial washbays may be used to ensure the effluent is safely disposed of.
Walkers should also clean their boots and gaiters at walking track washdown stations. Most of these are installed at the start of walking tracks.
If washed items will not be dry for 48 hours prior to their next use consider using a disinfectant such as F10Sc or a methylated spirits spray as a surface sterilant after washing.
2. When you use your tent pegs, toilet trowel or anything else that is placed in the soil, wash or wipe them clean of dirt at the place they became soiled before moving on.
3. Do not dig up soil or plants from the bush (on public land you will need a permit to do this from the managing agency anyway), you may unwittingly collect Phytophthora root rot as well.
For more information on preventing the spread see Keeping it clean - A Tasmanian field manual to prevent the spread of freshwater pests and pathogens.
Keeping it Clean: Biosecurity Videos
The following are available from Parks and Wildlife Service Offices or national park visitor centres:
- Phytophthora root rot ....the plant killer - pamphlet
- Mud spreads phytophthora root rot - poster.