Corn disease update — July 28, 2015

In an update to my previous post, southern corn rust has now been confirmed in Chesapeake, VA. This is a few days earlier than in 2014 (August 3), but most of the field corn in the region is mature enough (dent stage) that yield should not be impacted. Late planted corn in fields with good yield potential (120 bu/ac +) may need to be protected with a foliar fungicide. Strobilurins are good preventative fungicides whereas triazoles are recommended once sporulation is observed in a field due to their curative activity. A combination fungicide is a good option as long as a strobilurin fungicide has not been applied previously. Wet, warm weather favors disease development. Once sporulation occurs, symptoms of rust are relatively obvious. Lesions start out as raised, blister-like pustules then break open to reveal orange spores. Samples of corn plants with symptoms of southern rust can be submitted to the disease clinic at the Virginia Tech Tidewater AREC (contact Dr. Hillary Mehl,