Disease levels have been relatively low in tobacco float beds during the past few weeks, and the transplant crop seems to be a bit behind schedule compared to last year. We’ve observed a fair amount of Rhizoctonia damping-off at this point in the season, but have not found target spot or Sclerotinia collar rot to date. Chances are good, though, that both diseases will appear in the next week or two. The 10-day forecast for the Lexington area calls for cool and overcast conditions which are ideal for development of both target spot and collar rot. Growers should try to clip regularly and cleanly, focus on good ventilation, and apply fungicides on a regular basis. The fungicide program described in the March 26 edition of Kentucky Pest News offers the best possible protection against target spot, and good management practices will lower the risk to collar rot. For more information on either disease, refer to “Watch for Rhizoctonia Diseases in Tobacco Float Beds” (Kentucky Pest News, April 8, 2014) or consult the 2013-2014 Kentucky and Tennessee Tobacco Production Guide.
By Kenny Seebold, Extension Plant Pathologist