Kauri Dieback


Kauri dieback is the deadly kauri disease caused by Phytophthora agathidicida. Following DNA studies, this fungus-like disease was formally identified in 2008 as a distinct and previously undescribed species of Phytophthora. Kauri dieback is specific to New Zealand kauri and can kill trees of all ages.


What does it do to kauri trees?

Microscopic spores in the soil infect kauri roots and damage the tissues that carry nutrients within the tree. Infected trees show a range of symptoms including yellowing of foliage, loss of leaves, canopy thinning, dead branches and lesions that bleed gum at the base of the trunk.

Some infected trees can show canopy dieback and even be killed without any gum showing on the trunks as kauri dieback also acts as a severe root rot below ground.

Nearly all infected kauri die. In the past 10 years, kauri dieback has killed thousands of kauri in New Zealand.

Scientists are currently working to find control tools for this disease but there is no known treatment at this time.

Some of the first research undertaken looked at what species might be affected by this disease and the impact on NZ kauri. The photo below shows how kauri dieback can kill a kauri sapling within three weeks (compared to other controls).