Kentucky IPM Pest Information Pages
Bacterial Wilt (Stewart's Wilt)
Infections are most common early in the pre-tassel (whorl) stage, or after tasseling. Early season symptoms include plant death: seedlings infected with Stewart's Wilt wilt rapidly and die. Look for dark brown cavities in the lower stalk pith with no evidence of insect injury on the lower stalk. Infections after tasseling are generally more severe on upper leaves.
Lesions of Stewart's Wilt may be confused with unrelated lesions on hybrids carrying an Ht2 resistance gene to Northern Corn Leaf Blight . To aid in diagnosing Stewart's Wilt, hold leaves to the light and look in the lesions for scratch-like feeding marks of flea beetles (the transmission agents for the disease).
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