Corn seedling diseases are caused by several soil or seed-inhabiting fungi or fungus-like organisms (oomycetes) that are favored by cool, wet soil conditions during and after planting. Infected seeds may rot after germination, preventing emergence or causing plant collapse soon after emergence. Affected fields have a patchy appearance due to failed plant development; in severe cases, large areas of seedlings may die.
This publication describes the symptoms of seedling diseases commonly observed in Kentucky, conditions that favor disease development, and preventative management practices that minimize risk of disease.
Seedling Diseases of Corn (PPFS-AG-C-02) is available online.
For additional publications on corn diseases, visit the UK Plant Pathology Extension Publications webpage.
By Cheryl Kaiser, Plant Pathology Extension Support, and Kiersten Wise, Plant Pathology Extension Specialist