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Goss's Bacterial Wilt and Leaf Blight

In-Depth Downloads

Symptoms

Distinguishing features of Goss's Wilt lesions

Distinguishing features of Goss’s Wilt lesions (photo above)

  • Freckles – dark green to black water-soaked spots, often near lesion edges (white arrows)
  • Shiny exudate – bacteria ooze to leaf surface and may appear shiny after drying (black arrows)

Facts

  • Disease is caused by a bacterial pathogen that overwinters in residue of corn and several grasses
  • Historically, damage to corn had been confined mostly to the Great Plains states
  • In recent years, significant crop damage has also been reported in central Corn Belt states
  • Depending on conditions, may cause only minor problems or devastating damage with grain yield losses approaching 50%

Goss’s Wilt Disease Development

  • Plant wounding from wind, sandblasting and especially hail provide openings for bacteria
  • Insects are not known to be a factor in spread or development of this disease
  • Wet weather and high humidity encourage development
  • There are two phases of the disease
    • Systemic wilt (less common)
    • Later season foliar blight

US map
General area of Goss’s Wilt occurrence and risk to corn (map above)

 
Systemic Wilt Phase

  • Less common than foliar phase
  • Can cause large losses, especially in susceptible hybrids
  • May cause a slimy stalk rot, especially in seedlings
  • May cause plant death
  • Plants wilt due to vascular infection with bacteria
  • Vascular bundles may have orange coloration that turns brown to black after disease progresses

Vascular bundle discoloration

Later Season Foliar Blight

  • Water-soaked streaks may appear first followed by gray or brown/tan lesions
  • Lesions are elongated with wavy margins that follow leaf veins
  • General lesion shape may resemble Stewart’s Wilt lesions
  • Foliar lesions may progress to foliar blighting, killing large amounts of the canopy and predisposing plants to stalk rots

Goss wilt
Stewart wilt

Disease Cycle

Disease Cycle

Goss’s Wilt Management

  • Genetic resistance
    • Primary management method
    • Pioneer researchers inoculate, screen and rate hybrids for resistance
    • Hybrids are also rated under natural infestations in affected states
    • See your local Pioneer sales professional for help in selecting appropriate hybrids for your field
  • Reduce corn residue
    • Disease can become problematic in corn on corn, high-residue fields
    • Crop rotation is effective in reducing residue
    • Tillage encourages residue breakdown
  • Control grassy weeds that are hosts for the bacteria
    • Green foxtail, barnyardgrass, shattercane and others
  • Prevention/Avoidance
    • Harvest and till affected fields last and clean equipment to avoid spreading the pathogen to uninfested fields
  • Fungicide application IS NOT EFFECTIVE for this bacterial disease. Other materials are being tested.

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