Rotting Roots

Published on: 17:55PM Jul 16, 2010

Palle Pedersen


Many early-season diseases that live in soil or on crop residue can attack whatever crop you plant in that field.  One common disease is Rhizoctonia root rot.  This fungus overwinters in soil, waiting to attack the next crop you plant.  From corn and soybeans to cereals and cotton – and even vegetables in your garden – most crops are vulnerable to Rhizoctonia.


The most common symptom is damping-off before or after seedlings emerge.  Other symptoms include wilting, brown or red-brown lesions on larger seedlings and young plant stems down to the soil line and on the tap root. Infected stems often break in the lesioned area. Roots may die from a firm, dry, brown or red-brown decay. Emerging roots and stems seem to literally rot away.

Good soil conditions that promote rapid seedling development prohibit Rhizoctonia growth, but since soil conditions aren’t easy to control, a systemic seed treatment fungicide helps protect corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and cotton.