Soilborne diseases can spell trouble for crops – so control them early

Published on: 10:47AM Aug 05, 2013

Lush and robust wheat fields start with durable, deep and disease-free roots. These roots absorb the all-important nutrients and moisture that produce healthy plants with strong yield potential, which is why growers should keep their wheat’s root health top of mind when preparing for the season.

By incorporating preventive measures now – including best management practices and seed treatment applications – growers can ensure healthy root systems and get their crops started on the right foot.
Underground Threat
What’s so bad about soilborne diseases? For starters, they attack both seeds and roots, stealing nutrients and key resources needed to produce quality crops. 
Three main soilborne diseases in wheat are:
  • Rhizoctonia, which is common in cereal fields around the world, causes lesions around the root and leads to seedling collapse.
  • Pythium, which quickly infects germinating seeds and young seedlings and nibbles away at root tips. 
  • Fusarium, a yield-robbing soilborne pathogen that infects the roots and eventually gets into the crown. 
Each of these lives below the surface eating away at roots and significantly damaging yield and profit potential.
Rhizoctonia Inoculated untreated
Photo: Rhizoctonia
Manage and Treat
Growers should get ahead of these diseases to maximize yield potential and help crops develop with healthy, efficient root systems. Syngenta recommends the following:
  • Plant certified seed, which will have gone through the rigors of a certification process and inspection for contaminants. Older seed has lost some of its vigor, which can make it more susceptible to certain soilborne diseases.
  • When available, select varieties with genetic tolerance.
  • Monitor soil fertility levels. Balanced soil fertility is extremely important because the plant is less stressed.
  • Rotate to a non-host crop to help break the disease cycle.
  • Because soilborne diseases thrive in wet conditions, plant into well-drained soils.
  • Destroy any green residue in fields at least two weeks before planting begins to eradicate the green bridge, break disease cycles and reduce chances of soilborne pathogens carrying over from past seasons. 
  • Scout fields for symptoms of soilborne pathogens to manage diseases early.
  • Apply a seed treatment to protect crops from the start
Seed treatments, such as Vibrance® Extreme seed treatment fungicide, shield seeds from pests, thus enabling healthier, stronger root systems to develop. By applying Vibrance Extreme and Cruiser® 5FS seed treatment insecticide, protection begins the moment seeds are planted and continues as they work systemically to protect young growing plants.
©2013 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some crop protection products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. Cruiser®, Vibrance® and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company.