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Rhizoctonia Spring Blight

Pathogen(s) causing disease:

Rhizoctonia cerealis

Symptoms:

Large, irregular lesions on dormant leaves. If plants are dormant or stressed after infection, the fungus may develop into crown tissue and plants may die. Severely infected plants fail to green-up in spring, or may be green for a short period and then die.

Conditions:

Favored by fluctuating late winter or early spring temperatures, wet conditions, and heavy nitrogen applications.

Management:

Spring topdressing with nitrogen when the soil surface is thawing will promote spring blight. A good seed bed, proper planting time, and application of nitrogen topdress when the ground is firmly frozen will reduce the risk of spring blight. Application of part of the spring nitrogen topdress when the ground is still frozen, followed by a later application when wheat has resumed growth, is an even better way to reduce the chance of spring blight.

Sources:

Purdue University
UDSA/NASS

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