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Fusarium Yellows in Sugarbeet Fields (06/21/18)

Fusarium yellows/decline symptoms were observed in research plots and a commercial sugarbeet field.

Fusarium Yellows in Sugarbeet Fields

Fusarium yellows/decline symptoms were observed in research plots and a commercial sugarbeet field. The fungi Fusarium oxysporum and Fusarium secorum cause Fusarium yellows and Fusarium decline, respectively, on sugarbeet. Fusarium yellows/Fusarium decline may cause significant reduction in plant stand, root yield and extractable sucrose.

Infection typically starts early in the growing season. Under severe disease conditions, young plants at the 4- to 6-leaf stage may initially display leaf yellowing (Figure 1) followed by wilting and death. Cross sections of roots typically will show darkening of vascular system. On older plants (4-leaves and older), symptoms include interveinal yellowing, leaf scorch and death of older leaves (Figure 2). Symptoms may include distinct yellowing of half the leaf on one side of the midrib (Figure 3) which then spreads over to the other side of the mid-rib; necrosis and death of older leaves followed by death of the younger leaves. Under severe disease conditions, older infected plants may die. In many instances where disease is not severe, plants may display typical foliar symptoms but survive. Roots of seedlings and older plants with distinct foliar symptoms appear healthy on the outside, but when these roots are cut in a cross or transverse section, there is a distinct darkening and damage of the vascular system (Figure 3 & 4). Roots of infected plants will not store well in piles and have very high respiration rates and low sugar concentration. The best and only way to manage Fusarium yellows/decline is to plant tolerant varieties, many of which are available. Growers should consult their agriculturists or seed sales representatives for Fusarium tolerant varieties appropriate for their specific growing area.

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Mohamed Khan

Extension Sugarbeet Specialist

NDSU & U of MN; 701-231-8596

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