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The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) were established in 1818 and receive around 350,000 visitors a year. The Gardens cover an area of 14 hectares and display more than 6,000 species from around the world and Australia. The conifer collection is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere with some trees dating back to the early 19th century.
The Gardens have been affected by major fungal diseases:
The program of eradication of this fungal disease has been largely successful. In 2003-04 no fruiting bodies were found during the annual autumn monitoring, which is the first time since the disease was diagnosed in the Gardens in 1994. The disease appears to now be contained to one remaining site.
Around 1997, another root rot fungus, Phytophthora cinnamomi, was identified in four areas of the Gardens: the Erica, Protea, Epacrid Family and Tasmanian native collections. Since then, all infected areas have been drenched regularly with potassium phosphonate as part of the antifungal treatment program, and soil testing on any suspicious plant deaths has been carried out in the Gardens' laboratory. During 2003-04 a new and simpler method for testing root rot was trialled with success. The status of the disease in the Gardens remains unchanged with minimal plant loss.
This fungus was detected in the Nursery in June 2004 and a survey of the Gardens led to identification in most housed collections and some beds. Recommendations for control were instigated and these are now being followed.
Further information can be found on the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens web site at http://www.rtbg.tas.gov.au.