Giberrella stalk and ear rotCaused by: Giberella zeae
Problem Category: Fungal Disease
Symptoms: Plants wilting and leaves changing color from light to dull green; lower stalk turns straw yellow; internal stalk tissue breaks down; interior of stalk has a red discoloration; black fungal fruiting bodies may be visible on the stalk, often at internodes, and can be easily scraped off; if fungal infection affects the ears, it produces a red mold at the tips of the ear which spreads down; early infection may result in the ear being covered in pink mycelium which causes the corn husk to adhere to the ear.
Comments: Fungus can enter through wounds to stalk or ear; ear rot is caused by the fungus infecting silks and moving down through the ear; fungus survives on corn debris in soil and on debris of other host plants such as wheat.
Management: Stressed plants are more susceptible to Gibberella - providing adequate fertilization and irrigation can help reduce incidence of disease; control Insect, especially stem and ear borers; hybrids differ in their susceptibility to the disease and further information is required in order to develop specific control measures.