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Goss’ Wilt Update in the State (08/02/18)

Goss’ Wilt Update in the State

Reports of the bacterial disease Goss’ leaf blight and wilt have been received over the past couple weeks. The corn disease survey in 2017 identified Goss’ wilt in over 30% of the fields and it is likely that the disease may be common again this year, especially in areas of the state that received severe weather (i.e.: rain, wind, hail, etc). Although there is very little that can be done during the growing season, it is important to properly identify Goss’ wilt and avoid unnecessary fungicide applications. This article will review the key diagnostic features of the disease, risk factors and management options.

Symptoms and Signs

One of the first symptoms noticed in a field is leaf tip burning. This symptom can also be caused by drought stress, wind damage or nutrient stress (Figure 1). Close examination of the leaf is needed for field diagnosis of this disease. Goss’ leaf blight lesions will be water-soaked (greasy), irregular and have freckles within the lesion (Figure 2). Lesions will also exude bacterial ooze given lesions are shiny appearance. The disease is often noticed in pockets or on a field edge bordering a previous corn crop (Figure 3) or that held infected corn residue from last year’s corn harvest.





Risk Factors

Factors that increase risk for Goss’ wilt include growing a susceptible hybrid, having a short rotation away from corn (bacterium survives 10-12 months), reduced tillage, irrigation, and events that injure corn plants. Often times, Goss’ leaf blight is noticed after corn leaves are injured from hail, strong winds, or sand blasting as it provides an entrance for the bacterium. The injury in combination with warm and humid weather will favor disease development.


The best management tools for this disease include the use of resistant hybrids, crop rotation, and tillage (where appropriate). Often times I receive questions on the efficacy of hydrogen peroxide, copper-based products or citric acid on Goss’ wilt. Although I have not tested these products in North Dakota on Goss’ wilt, research conducted in Nebraska, Indiana and Illinois suggest that these products are not a viable management option.


Andrew Friskop

Extension Plant Pathology, Cereal Crops

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