As we head into fall harvest, you may be thinking about next year’s planting. With the unpredictability of spring weather, growers should be prepared for diseases that sprout up during periods of low temperature. At the top of this list is Rhizoctonia, a pathogen that prefers cool, moist conditions and leads to poor stands and stunted plants.
Rhizoctonia overwinters on infected tubers, in plant residue and infested soils. Black scurf is the most noticeable sign of infection, and causes black patches along the tuber. Stem cankers, however, are the most damaging, attacking and killing germinating sprouts. Understanding correct management techniques is crucial for protection. Following these essential tips will help alleviate disease pressure:
- Avoid over-irrigating: Cool, damp soil can cause slow plant emergence and encourage fungal development.
- Plant strategically: Encourage more rapid emergence through shallow planting.
- Harvest timely: Potatoes should be harvested as soon as skin is set. The percent of infected tubers increases as the interval between vine kill and harvest increases.
For additional preventative support, we recommend CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Potato insecticide/fungicide seed treatment. CruiserMaxx Vibrance Potato combines the power of three industry-leading fungicides to deliver comprehensive control of Helminthosporium, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia, while providing protection against key insects.
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