The Q&A Archives: Rusty Spots On Corn Leaves

Question: My corn is 3-4 feet high, tassles are near to coming out. We had a hail storm recently that didn't help much, but, I think my plants (five rows, 12' long in a block) have now gotten some sort of a fungus. When you look close, it almost looks like a whole bunch of 1/8" long bumps, brown in color. Some of the lower leaves look to be yellowing as well. Can you suggest a fungicide?

Answer: Your description of the problem points to two different possibilities: bacterial wilt or leaf blight. Bacterial wilt begins with long white or pale yellow-green streaks on the leaves that eventually turns brown. The stalks may exude a sticky, yellow sap when cut. Wilt is spread by flea beetles and most commonly strikes early sweet corn. Leaf blight symptoms include brown to gray-green spots on the lower leaves, and may disfigure the ears. Both are fungal diseases best avoided by rotating crops and planting resistant varieties. You can take your chances that the ears will mature, or you can rogue the infected plants to help stop the spread of the disease, but there are no fungicides available for control of these problems.

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