Common Root Rot


Common root rot, a notorious fungal disease caused by the Cochliobolus sativus pathogen, poses a significant threat to wheat crops across the globe.

Common Root Rot primarily targets the roots and the crown of the wheat plant. Infected roots struggle to absorb water and nutrients effectively, leading to stunted growth. When the crown, a crucial part of the plant that stores and supplies nutrients to the developing grain, becomes infected, it can result in reduced grain size and number.

Common Root Rot can trigger significant physiological changes in wheat plants. The disease reduces the plant's photosynthetic capacity by affecting the leaf area and chlorophyll content. This reduction in photosynthesis can lead to poor grain filling and lower grain yield.

Moreover, the disease can compromise the plant's structural integrity, making it more prone to lodging, especially under windy conditions.

How to Identify Common Root Rot

Identifying common root rot can be tricky due to its symptoms' similarity with other root diseases. However, understanding the specific signs can facilitate early detection and management.

The most evident sign of common root rot is the browning or darkening of the subcrown internode and the crown. This browning typically starts at the root tip and ascends towards the crown. In extreme cases, the entire root system, including the crown, may turn black. The disease may also stunt the growth of affected plants and, in some instances, cause premature death.

Beyond the physical appearance, other signs of common root rot include the presence of small, black fruiting bodies (pycnidia) on the surface of the affected roots and crowns. These pycnidia produce spores that propagate the disease.

Geographic Reach of Common Root Rot

Common root rot is a worldwide issue, affecting wheat crops in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. It flourishes in temperate climates and is more common in fields with a history of wheat or barley crops.

Timing of Common Root Rot

Common root rot typically emerges in the early stages of the growing season, especially under wet, cool conditions. However, symptoms become more noticeable later in the season, particularly during the heading and ripening stages.

How to Manage Common Root Rot in Wheat

Broad-spectrum fungicide seed treatments can suppress common root rot early in the season. Find a wide variety of fungicides at FBN.

Consider using a starter with phosphorus like Inhabit P to boost early season plant health and vigor.

Inhabit P Webinar


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