Anthracnose Stalk Rot

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Symptoms - Early Season

  • Same fungus may cause a foliar disease early in the season
Anthracnose Symptoms

Symptoms - Midseason

  • Top-down symptom of plant death often observed a few weeks after tasseling ("top dieback" )
anthracnose stalk rot in corn field

Symptoms – Late Season

  • Shiny black coloration on outside of stalk late in season
  • Internal stalk discoloration at nodes
  • Stalk may be easily crushed when squeezed at base
  • Stalk may lodge when pushed sideways
corn stalk with anthracnose stalk rot
Shiny black coloration on outside of stalk late in season is a symptom of anthracnose stalk rot.

Identification of Anthracnose Stalk Rot

  • For a positive identification of the disease with a hand lens, look for the presence of setae, which are bristlelike hair structures on the stalk surface.

Setae are often found within a mucous-like droplet.

setae on stalk surface

If a microscope is available, look for clear, curved spores (below).

Identification curved spores photo

Anthracnose Facts

  • Caused by Colletotrichum graminicola, a fungal pathogen
  • Most common stalk disease of corn
  • Favored by plant stress following pollination
  • Disease development may result in:
    • Plant lodging
    • Reduced ability to harvest
    • Yield reduction

Disease Cycle of Anthracnose Stalk Rot

anthracnose stalk rot disease cycle

Management of Anthracnose Stalk Rot

  • Crop rotation - at least 1 year out of corn
  • Tillage - encourages breakdown of crop residue, reducing disease inoculum
  • Genetic Resistance
    • Pioneer plant breeders select hybrids and parent lines for resistance, using induced and natural infection.
    • Pioneer pathologists assist breeders in their efforts to inoculate, screen and characterize products.
    • Hybrids differ significantly in resistance to anthracnose. Scores for Pioneer® brand hybrids generally range from 2 to 7 on a 1 to 9 scale (9=resistant).
    • Your Pioneer sales professional can help you select high-yielding hybrids with the appropriate level of disease resistance and other key traits needed for your field.

PIONEER® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents.

Product responses are variable and subject to many factors including soil type, management practices and environmental stress as well as disease and pest pressures. Individual results may vary.