The disease brown root rot is caused by the fungal pathogen Phellinus noxius. The fungus attacks tree roots causing decay, which cuts off water and nutrient supply to the crown resulting in tree death. It is a natural component of rainforests, and has become a problem in forest plantations, fruit orchards and the urban environment.
Over 200 species of native and introduced trees and shrubs are hosts to Phellinus noxius. They include palms, fig, poinciana, leopard tree, avocado and hoop pine.
Wilting followed by often rapid death in young trees. In older trees, leaves turn chlorotic gradually, the crown thins and the tree eventually dies.
A characteristic ´stocking´ forms on roots and the tree trunk, which has a white margin when actively growing, turning cinnamon brown with age. Not all infected trees display a stocking. The fruiting bodies only develop after extended periods of rain. The resupinate form is flat and grows flush with the bark. The bracket fruiting bodies are leathery or woody and hard.
In Australia it occurs along the east coast from Cape York to northern NSW. It occurs naturally in rainforest but has spread to trees in commercial plantation forests, fruit orchards and amenity plantings in urban areas.
It usually spreads by root to root contact, and potentially with air-borne basidiospores produced by fruiting bodies. Stumps from infected trees are sources of infection and the fungus can remain in the soil for up to 60 years.
Planting in infested sites without removing the infection source may result in the rapid death of new plantings.
If you have found Phellinus noxius on council land contact Brisbane City Council:
Ph: 07 3403 8888
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