Friday, Georgia officials reported finding soybean rust on kudzu that had survived recent below-freezing temperatures in Thomas County. This is the second county in the state with soybean rust this year, and the 13th U.S. county.



Soybean rust was found in copious amounts on older kudzu leaves in Grady County, Georgia, on Jan. 30, 2006. The adjacent counties are on the border with Florida in southwest Georgia. Layla Sconyers, post-doctoral research associate in plant pathology at the University of Georgia, reported the following on www.sbrusa.net:



"Today (Feb. 10) Bob Kemerait re-visited a roadside kudzu site in Thomas County, Hwy 84, Thomasville, 15 minutes north of Florida border. This site was scouted on Jan. 30, and no rust was found.



"However, today, kudzu was found growing protected in a concrete culvert. A few older leaves (age unknown) and some new green leaves (approximately 3-4 weeks old) were found. Soybean rust pustules were found on the older leaf tissue, similar to that of the Grady County find.



"Newer leaves also had lesions and young pustules, with a few spores on some of the pustules. Infection of the newer leaves is recent. The kudzu survived temperatures that reached 29 degrees F this morning (10 Feb) and 30 degrees F Wednesday night. There was no sign of frost injury.



"Young, greening kudzu tissue found on 30 Jan was frozen, foliage gone, but vines had survived."



In an e-mail to colleagues today, Sconyers added, "We'll need to keep a close check on the weather and on areas such as the kudzu patches in Cairo and Thomasville, Ga., for further disease progress."



Earlier this month, the Georgia commentary noted that on Jan. 31, Bob Kemerait examined roadside kudzu in Cordele, Ga., (Crisp County), located about 100 miles north of the Florida border. No soybean rust was detected. Dead kudzu vines were found around buildings, but no green tissue or rust was found.



So far in 2006, Florida has 10 counties positive for soybean rust; Georgia has two and Alabama has one.



SOURCE: Georgia state commentary on www.sbrusa.net.