Bacterial Stalk Rot

Symptoms of bacterial stalk rot. Image: D. Mueller

Erwinia chrysanthemi pv. zeae is one of the most common causal agent of bacterial stalk rot. It is readily capable of establishing and thriving on corn and sorghum plants as it enters natural openings or wounds made from weather or pests.

Bacterial stalk rot typically smells bad as infection takes hold and systematically moves up the stalk and throughout the plant. Infected stalks rot and lodge. Split the stalks and a discolored, soft, slimy pith is present.

High heat and humidity, heavy rainfall and generally wet conditions favor disease development. Bacterial stalk rot is sometimes confused with Goss’s wilt.

Talk with your AgVenture Yield Specialist for support in diagnosis and management planning.