Southern Stem Blight

Guy Padgett  |  9/20/2017 8:09:08 PM

Southern stem blight.

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Southern Stem Blight (Sclerotium rolfsii)
Gerard T. Berggren
LSU AgCenter (retired)

Southern stem blight occurs on a wide range of host plants, including soybeans. Soybean losses due to this disease vary considerably, with damage occurring as scattered localized areas of dead plants. The fungus survives in the soil and on plant debris and is most active during the summer, with symptoms usually developing during late reproductive stages of plant growth.

The typical sign is a white cottony mold on the main stem at the soil surface. Small brown fruiting bodies (sclerotia) are associated with the mold. Infected plants are often killed.

To reduce losses, deep plowing to bury sclerotia, and rotation with non-host crops is suggested. Resistant cultivars are available, and should be planted in fields with a history of southern stem blight.

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