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Kentucky IPM Pest Information Pages

Tan Spot: Kentucky Wheat IPM

Tan Spot


Symptoms of tan spot appear as small yellow brown spots that develop into broad oval or lens-shaped light brown blotches on leaves, usually with a yellow border. As lesions merge, large areas of leaves turn yellow or brown and die. Tan spot lesions are difficult to distinguish from lesions resulting from Stagonospora nodorum infection. Tan spot lesions, however, are devoid of pycnidia, tend to remain more discrete, and have more distinct yellow halos. Small dark brown spots often develop at the center of tan spot lesions.

Tan spot is usually most evident late in the season, but can occur early, prior to flag leaf development, especially where continuous wheat is grown.

Tan Spot in Wheat


The fungus responsible for tan spot development survives the winter in infested wheat stubble. Spores are produced and infect plants throughout the spring during extended periods of leaf wetness. Shortened or continuous wheat rotations and reduced tillage practices encourage tan spot development.

IPM Techniques

  • Varieties resistant to tan spot are available in wheat, but tan spot reactions of many commonly grown varieties are poorly defined.

  • Rotate fields out of wheat for two or more years.

  • Avoid excessively dense, lush stands.

  • Till under infested wheat stubble after doublecrop soybeans are harvested.

References and Additional Information

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