Field Crop Diseases
Information and Management for Illinois
Go to the Department of Crop Sciences home page.
University of Illinois
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Corn Diseases Soybean Diseases Wheat Diseases Sorghum Diseases Alfalfa Diseases

Red Root Rot


  • Red or pink discoloration of the root system and lower stalk tissue turns to a deep red to purple color along with death and shriveling
  • Symptoms usually appear just before corn maturity
  • The red color is deeper and darker than that of Gibberella stalk and root rot
  • Symptoms vary among different corn genotypes
  • Root mass can be reduced
  • The rotting below ground can lead to wilting and grayish green foliage, premature plant death, and lodging in 4 to 5 days

Pathogen Involved

  • Phoma terrestris (fungus) in association with Pythium and Fusarium species
  • Survives in soils with a wide range of temperature and pH conditions
  • The pathogen overwinters as microsclerotia in soil
  • This disease has had a high incidence in the Atlantic states and Delmarva region of the U.S.

Time of Occurrence

  • Occurs as early as midsilking stage, but mainly late in the growing season

Conditions Favoring Disease

  • As the plant senesces, the rate of disease development increases
  • Moderate temperatures: (~75-80°F)
  • High yield environment (=high populations, high fertility, and irrigation)

Disease Management

  • Rotation with soybeans may provide some benefit

 Back to Corn Diseases

[Field Crop Diseases]
[Integrated Pest Management]

[Department of Crop Sciences]
[University of Illinois Extension]

[College of ACES]
© 2001
University of Illinois