2 questions I had a coupl... #161769 - Ask Extension

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2 questions I had a coupl... #161769

Asked December 04, 2013, 11:41 PM EST

2 questions I had a couple squash plants turn yellow and die last year. Other plants were un affected. Corn smut- is there anything to controll it. I planted corn for the first time in my garden so there should not have been any in the soil, but several had it.

Custer County South Dakota

Expert Response

For the squash plants, there are numerous things that could have caused the yellowing and death. There are diseases, like yellow vine decline (http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpathology/ext_files/PPFShtml/PPFS-VG-12.pdf) that could be the culprit, or it could have been a physiological issue like iron or nitrogen deficiency. Without more details about how the plants declined or pictures of the problem I can't be more specific.

Corn smut does survive in the soil for 2-3 years, but the teliospores can also be blown in on the wind, which is probably what happened in your case. For next year, you should look for sweet corn varieties that have shown resistance to smut (http://oregonstate.edu/dept/hermiston/sites/default/files/home_garden_sweet_corn_smut_resistant_varietiesx.pdf). If you get smut galls on your corn in the future, you should remove them before they open to reduce the presence of the fungus in your garden. This fact sheet has more details on the life cycle of the fungus that causes corn smut -http://ohioline.osu.edu/ac-fact/0016.html
Amanda Bachmann Replied December 09, 2013, 11:12 AM EST

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