The Identification and Management of Sweet Corn Diseases

Sweets, Laura
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Diseases can and do cause losses in sweet corn production. Various sweet corn diseases may result in germination and stand establishment problems, losses in yield and reduction in quality. Because of the extreme importance of quality in sweet corn production for either fresh market or processing along with the higher value of sweet corn, disease management in sweet corn production is an excellent opportunity to employ integrated pest management tactics. Sweet corn fields should be scouted on a regular basis to identify diseases present and to assess the severity of these diseases. Emphasis is certainly placed on preventing sweet corn disease problems through the use of resistant hybrids, proper crop rotation, residue management, etc. When scouting indicates disease problems during the season, decisions can be made on additional control measures such as pesticide applications. In general, the most common disease problems on sweet corn might be divided into the early season seed decay and seedling blight problems, foliage diseases, maize dwarf mosaic virus, Stewart's wilt and common smut. Brief summaries of the symptoms caused by these diseases, the conditions favoring each and management strategies currently available for each are given below.