City of Subiaco - Plant pathogen and weed management
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Plant pathogen and weed management

This page contains information about how the city controls weeds and manages dieback, a plant disease common in jarrah and banksia trees.

Chemical-free weed control

In January 2020, the City of Subiaco stopped using Gyphosate chemical weed control and is instead using saturated steam to control weed growth in parks, reserves, public places and on road reserves. The City is committed to reducing chemical use and this change was introduced to address health and environmental concerns associated with chemical weed control. Read more about the change in our news section.

In addition to saturated steam control of weeds, the City proactively mulches garden beds to suppress weed growth and maintains planting densities to outcompete weeds and reduce seed dispersal.

To learn more about our other environmental initiatives, download the Environmental Plan 2019 - 2023.

When does it occur?

Steam weed control is undertaken in appropriate conditions and will not be undertaken when it is raining heavily (or heavy rain is imminent). Pruning and weed control in laneways usually occurs in July each year, with inspections and additional treatments undertaken periodically if weed control is required.


Residents can choose to have their property placed on a saturated steam weed control exemption list using the online form below. All property owners/occupiers who apply for exemption will be required to keep the areas adjacent their property weed free to the same standard that will be achieved by the saturated steam control method. To register, complete the form below or contact the City on (08) 9387 0942.

Kerb lines

Kerb lines are maintained using a combination of saturated steam, whipper snipping and mechanical removal. Where kerb lines are edged and maintained, these properties will not be treated. If weed growth exceeds 150 millimetres in height, the weeds are removed manually.


Non chemical weed control adjacent footpaths should not exceed 10 millimetres beyond the outside edges of the footpath. Where footpaths are edged and maintained, these properties will not be treated. If weed growth exceeds 150 millimetres in height, these weeds are removed manually.

For further information on weed spraying, fill in an online enquiry form or call the City on (08) 9387 0942. 

Plant pathogens

The City’s Plant Pathogen Management Plan 2015 – 2019 (PDF, 3MB) outlines strategies to protect and preserve our natural surrounds from infection from diseases such as dieback, honey fungus, canker disease and sphaeropsis blight, all of which exist in the local area, and have no available treatment to eradicate.

Many plant pathogens occur naturally in soil and plants, and are an important part of functioning ecosystems. However, the above diseases cause the decline and death of susceptible plants, and have the potential to severely impact the city’s urban forest and the significant environmental, social and economic value of this asset.

The diseases are spread by movement of infected soil or plant matter, root-to-root contact, or by water or wind.  Wounds from poor pruning techniques, and the impact of abiotic stress factors such drought, can increase a plants susceptibility to infection.

The plan outlines a long-term approach to building and maintaining healthy ecosystems to improve the resilience of susceptible plants to infection, as well as implementing equipment hygiene control measures, best practice urban forest management techniques, and increasing community awareness. The plan applies measures that will be applicable to any emerging plant pathogen within the city.

How you can help?

The diseases also affect native and ornamental plants in home gardens. They can be unknowingly introduced to the area through common gardening practices such as contaminated plants or greenwaste. You can help by:

Using soil, gravel, potting mix and mulch by purchased from suppliers that have a high pasteurisation standard as demonstrated by compliance with the Australian Standard for Compost, Soil Conditioners and Mulches (AS 4454), or the ISO 9001 Quality Management System.  The use of raw greenwaste from tree lopping companies is discouraged, as mulch that has not been composted and pasteurised increases the risk of new disease outbreaks
Buying plants from nurseries accredited under the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia (NIASA).  Plants from road side stalls or stock sitting on nursery floors is at higher risk of carrying dieback.

The city has dieback treatment kits available for hire by local residents. For further information, please Parks and Environment Services on (08) 9387 0942.