Field Crop Diseases
Information and Management for Illinois
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Sorghum Downy Mildew



  • Leaves have yellow to white stripes extending from the base of the leaf toward the leaf tip
  • Infected leaves often will be more narrow than usual, erect, and shredded
  • A white, downy mycelium may develop on both surfaces of leaves
  • Plants may be stunted, chlorotic, and have an irregular seed set
  • Symptoms vary according to plant tolerance

Pathogen Involved:

  • Peronosclerospora sorghi (a fungal-like pathogen)
  • Pathogen is located worldwide and causes a systemic infection
  • Overwinters in the soil

Time of Occurrence:

  • Occurs before mid-whorl

Conditions Favoring Disease:

  • High humidity or free water
  • Warm temperatures of 70 - 80°F

Disease Management:

  • Use resistant hybrids
  • Plant in cool soils
  • Avoid rotation of corn with sorghum and adjacent planting of corn and sorghum
  • Destroy shattercane, because it is an alternate host for the pathogen
  • Systemic fungicide seed treatments may be helpful

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