Fusarium: not your friendliest seedborne microbe

Hi all,

It’s been one hot summer in the Pacific NW! I hope your corn is doing okay!

I’ve been plowing through a bunch of lab and field work, with plenty of pictures to share.

Let’s start with one of the more infamous, but beautiful, seed-associated microbes of them all, Fusarium. This fungus is highly prevalent in seeds. If the conditions favor it, some pathogenic strains of this fungus can attack your corn. Cold, wet springs give it the pathogen an advantage over seedlings. Hot, dry summers will cause a late-season rot, as Fusarium takes over stressed plants. Although Fusarium can also confer benefits to the plant under other circumstances, we generally would prefer it NOT to be inherited in our seeds. Some of you may see the effects of Fusarium this summer, especially if your corn was water-stressed.

Here are some pictures I’ve taken from the lab as I have been working with Fusarium.

Has your corn been struggling with the sumer heat? Think you might have a Fusarium infection?  Add a comment below or email me. lnebert <at> uoregon <dot> edu

3 comments on “Fusarium: not your friendliest seedborne microbe

  1. salmon norgaard-stroich says:

    my “bodacious” variety is struggling – only about 3′ tall right now. next to it, however, the “calico” is doing amazing – 10′ tall right now! stark contrast!
    probably not water stressed (tend to over water – 1 hr every morning, hot days 1 hr in the evening via laser drilled drip line).

  2. lnebert@uoregon.edu says:

    My Cascade Ruby-Gold is having trouble. Their lower leaves are starting to die back, and pollination didn’t go well. I was experimenting with a “dry farming” technique. Bad idea for this hot summer!

    • Kevin Kane says:

      This past gardening season my Cascade Ruby Gold was short and produced very few small ears. In the same plot I had Supai corn and it did very well. I ran a simple experiment fertilizing every other row with composted commercial cow manure. It did not seem to make any difference in the the size od plants or productivity.

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