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Charcoal stalk rot

Area of impact: Stalk

Description: Inner stalk deteriorates with gray or black discoloration inside the rind. This discoloration is caused by tiny black masses of fungal cells which can be seen with a hand lens. Charcoal rot can cause plant death.

Pathogen involved: Macrophomina phaseolina (a fungus)

Timing/Conditions: Occurs after pollination during hot and dry weather.

Contributing factors: Insect damage might increase risk of infection. Overwinters on crop residue.

Management practices: Plant hybrids resistant to Diplodia and Gibberella stalk rot reduce moisture stress and minimize early senescence of stalk tissue.

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