Charcoal Rot

Many plants are susceptible to this soil borne fungus, Macrophomina phaseolina, and symptoms vary according to type. Infected stem tissue shows evidence of shredding with tiny black dots (sclerotia) between the remaining tissues. This gives those plant parts an ashy-gray appearance. Stalks such as corn or sorghum show a shredded appearance when split longitudinally. Charcoal rot occurs most consistently when plants are experiencing moisture stress due to drought. The fungus is widely distributed and builds up in soil when susceptible host plants are present and conditions favor its development. Rotation with unrelated crops help reduce the population of the fungus in the soil. Avoid moisture stress by increasing the moisture holding capacity of the soil and, if available, using irrigation when needed. Rotate with crops that are not seriously affected by this organism. Practices which hasten decomposition of crop residue may help decrease the population of the fungus in the soil.

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