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Wheat Disease Update – 12 May 2022

This article was written by Meriem Aoun, Small Grains Pathologist

Root/crown/foot rots were observed in multiple wheat fields in April and May in Woods, Cherokee, Blaine, Cotton, and Payne counties. Dr. Amanda Silva reported severely damaged wheat plants in drought stressed fields mainly in Cherokee and Woods counties (Figure 1). Infected plants were stunted and white and had poor root systems. Although the plants were drought stressed throughout the growing season, much of the damage was not noticeable until after wheat heading. Dr. Silva observed pinkish discoloration on infected plants in Cherokee after peeling the leaf sheath in the lower stem internodes, which indicates that the infection was caused by Fusarium (Figure 2).

Figure 1. White, stunted, and drought-stressed plants showing symptoms of root/crown/foot rots (Cherokee county, Oklahoma; photo credit: Dr. Amanda Silva; May 12, 2022).
Figure 2. Pink discoloration indicates that root/crown/foot rot was caused by Fusarium (Cherokee county, Oklahoma; photo credit: Dr. Amanda Silva; May 12, 2022).

The rain in early May in some locations in Oklahoma provided suitable environmental conditions for the appearance of some fungal diseases including rusts. This week, stripe rust was observed in the Stillwater Agronomy Research Station on susceptible wheat varieties like ‘Pete’ and some OSU breeding lines (Figure 3). Leaf rust was found on the susceptible wheat variety ‘OK Bullet” and on some OSU breeding lines (Figure 4). Rust diseases have not been found in other locations in Oklahoma. The current pressure is low and late compared to the previous year due to drought conditions through the growing season. However, rust disease incidence can increase in coming weeks if weather conditions are favorable.

Figure 3. Stripe rust on a susceptible OSU winter wheat breeding line in the Stillwater Agronomy Research Station, Oklahoma (the photo was taken on May 10, 2022).
Figure 4. Initial leaf rust pathogen infection on a winter wheat OSU breeding line in the Stillwater Agronomy Research Station, Oklahoma (the photo was taken on May 10, 2022).

Wheat Disease Update – 28 April 2022

This article was written by Meriem Aoun, Small Grains Pathologist

During April, the Plant Disease and Insect Diagnostic Laboratory at OSU received multiple wheat samples showing symptoms of streaking on the leaves. Leaf streaks were greenish yellow and parallel as shown in Figure 1. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) on these samples from different wheat varieties were positive for wheat streak mosaic virus (WSM). WSM infected samples were from fields in multiple counties in Oklahoma including Payne, Blaine, Cimarron, Harper, Grady, and Garfield. A couple of samples that tested positive for WSM were also positive for high plains virus (HPV) and were from Harper and Blaine counties. Both WSM and HPV are transmitted by wheat curl mite. I also observed symptoms of barley yellow dwarf virus (Figure 2) in fields in Payne, Cleveland, and Grady counties.

Figure 1. Wheat streak mosaic virus symptoms on the wheat variety ‘OK Corral’ (Grady County, April 13, 2022).
Figure 2. Symptoms of barley yellow dwarf infection on the wheat variety ‘OK Corral’ in a farmer field in Cleveland County, OK (the photo was taken by Bradley Secraw, extension educator, at Cleveland County on April 26, 2022).

I also observed leaf spotting on the wheat variety ‘OK Bullet’ in the Stillwater Agronomy Research Station. Culturing from the leaves resulted in the identification of the fungi Bipolaris sorokinana which causes spot blotch and Parastagonospora nodorum which causes septoria nodorum blotch. Parastagonospora nodorum was also recovered from leaf spots on leaves of the variety OK Corral in Cleveland County.

Around mid-April, the OSU Diagnostic Lab received a wheat sample from the varietyDoublestop CL Plus’ from Blaine County. I examined the sample and I found that the infected plants were stunted and brown and showed weak root systems (Figure 3). Culturing from infected tissues identified Bipolaris sorokiniana which causes common root rot and Fusarium sp. which cause root, crown and foot rots. These fungi are favored by drought conditions in Oklahoma during the fall and spring. Dr. Silva and Gary Strickland also reported seeing root rot at Cotton county.

Figure 3. Common root rot and Fusarium root, crown and foot rots in a wheat sample from the wheat variety ‘Doublestop CL Plus’ (Blaine County, April 13, 2022).