Stewart's Bacterial Wilt of Corn
By Laura Sweets, University of Missouri
The variations in weather conditions this spring have put stress on young corn plants. In some fields, seedlings showed yellowing and/or stunting from cool, wet soils immediately after planting and saturated soils since planting. However, with the more recent warm weather, corn in many parts of the state has really taken off and is now 12 to 18 inches tall.
So symptoms of Stewart's bacterial wilt are beginning to develop on these rapidly growing young corn plants. On young corn plants the symptoms of Stewart's bacterial wilt include linear, pale green to yellow streaks that tend to follow the veins of leaves and originate from feeding marks of the corn flea beetle. Lesions may extend the length of the leaf. Plants may appear stunted or somewhat distorted. If the bacteria become systemic within the plant, the entire plant wilts and may die prematurely. Cavities of a brown, soft rot can develop in the stalk pith.
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