Often referred to as a water mold because of the saturated conditions it favors, Pythium causes seed rot, pre-emergence damping-off and post-emergence damping-off of soybeans. As a soilborne fungus, Pythium infects the plant at all stages of development, according to the University of Illinois.
Pythium often exhibits similar symptoms to other seedling diseases such as Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora and Fusarium. These similarities make it difficult to distinguish Pythium from other diseases. However, according to the Iowa State University Extension, Pythium is most likely the culprit when growers have planted early in cool, wet soils.
According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the symptoms of Pythium can also be mistaken for other environmental factors. These symptoms may include rotted seeds, seedling discoloration, post-emergence seedling damping-off and root decay.
In instances where seedlings are able to emerge, they will observe a soft, wet rot. Following this stage, soybeans will turn brown and wilt while retaining foliage. As infected seedlings emerge, the growing point may be killed by Pythium, causing a “bald head” seedling effect. Lateral buds may form small shoots, resulting in a forked seedling.
These fungi overwinter as oospores and mycelium in the soil and on crop residues. Cool, wet soils and compaction favor infection. Infected soybeans may appear in patches, especially in lower areas of a field.
CruiserMaxx® Beans with Vibrance® seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products, offers management for many seedling diseases, including Pythium. Providing the widest spectrum of disease protection for soybeans, CruiserMaxx Beans with Vibrance has also shown the ability to improve plant stands, vigor and growth, helping set the stage for a strong season and high yields.
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