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Scout Info
Kentucky IPM Pest Information Pages

Seedling Blight: Kentucky Corn IPM

Seedling Blights


Pre-emergence symptoms often include a soft rot of stem tissue and discoloration of affected areas ranging from whitish-gray to pink, to dark brown or black. Seeds may rot before or after germination. (Infected seedling is on the right in this photo.) Post-emergence symptoms are yellowing, wilting and death of leaves.

Examine plant roots thoroughly to rule out the possibility of insect injury from rootworm or cutworm. Root symptoms of seedling blights include rotting of the roots, which may appear brown, watersoaked, faintly pink or greenish-blue. This can result in an uneven stand height later in the season.

Seedling Blight


Seedling blights are caused by common fungi found in Kentucky soils. Pythium, Stenocarpella (=Diplodia), and Fusarium are the three fungi most often associated with seedling blight in Kentucky. Look for seedling blight in poorly drained, compacted, or cold, wet soils. The disease usually does not limit stands, but can do so when seedlings are stressed.

Chemical injury may show similar symptoms to seeding blight, but damage usually follows closely the patterns of application and this is especially evident at the turn rows. True seedling blights, on the other hand, are usually scattered with no regular pattern other than an association with low, wet areas.

IPM Techniques

References and Additional Information

  • IPM-2 Kentucky IPM Manual for Corn

  • PPA-10a Kentucky Plant Disease Management Guide for Corn and Sorghum by P. Vincelli and D.E. Hershman, Extension Plant Pathologists, University of Kentucky

  • Compendium of Corn Diseases. M.C. Shurtleff. The Amer. Phytopathol. Soc. 1980

This site was created and is maintained by Pat Dillon, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, S-225 Agricultural Science Ctr North, Lexington, KY USA  40546-0091 (phone: 859/257-3571). Please send questions or suggestions to: pdillon@uky.edu