Field Crop Diseases
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Red Root Rot

Symptoms

  • 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

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