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Sunflower Stalk Diseases Initiated Through Leaf Infections

R. Harveson, F. Mathew, T. Gulya, S. Markell, C. Block, and S. Thompson

April 2018

Diagnostic Guide

This article describes three distinct sunflower stalk diseases that are caused by pathogens that primarily begin as foliar infections. Included are two similar fungal diseases: Phoma black stem and Phomopsis stem canker, caused by Phoma macdonaldii and two species of Diaporthe (helianthi and gulyae), respectively. The bacterial stalk rot disease caused by Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum and Pectobacterium atrosepticum is also included for comparison. We provide information on how to identify the diseases and distinguish them from each other with signs, symptoms, and biological characteristics of the pathogens. It is important to learn to recognize and differentiate these three diseases, because only one (Phomopsis stem canker) is considered to be economically damaging. Misidentification could result in utilizing unneeded disease management techniques.


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