Yellow leaf blight

Phyllosticta maydis

Yellow leaf blight, or Phyllosticta leaf spot, is characterized by oval-to-rectangular yellow, cream-colored, or tan-colored lesions, sometimes surrounded by a yellowish halo that first appear on lower leaves. Lesions vary in size, averaging 1/10 by 1/2 inch and may coalesce to produce severe leaf blighting. Infected leaves turn brown and die. Leaf sheaths and outer husks are also susceptible. Where severe, diseased plants may be stunted and more susceptible to stalk rots.
The causal fungus overwinters primarily in corn debris, but may also overwinter in foxtail or sudangrasses. Susceptible host plants may be attacked at any stage. Spores produced in the spring are windblown or water-splashed to nearby corn leaves. These primary infections produce additional spores that maintain the epidemic. Young corn plants growing through debris are especially vulnerable.

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