7 Diseases of Maize and Treatment - Agrolearner.com
Common Diseases of Maize

7 Diseases of Maize and Treatment

Maize, also known as corn, is a staple crop for many communities around the world. It is an important source of food, feed, and fuel.

However, maize crops are susceptible to various diseases that can cause significant damage, reduce yield, and impact the quality of the crop. To ensure a successful maize harvest, it is important to identify and treat these diseases.

Some of the common diseases of maize include Maize Dwarf Mosaic Virus, Northern Corn Leaf Blight, Maize Streak Virus, Gibberella Ear Rot, and Gray Leaf Spot

By understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatments for these diseases, you can take proactive steps to protect your crops and maintain your yield potential.

7 Diseases of Maize and Treatment

Maize, also known as corn, is an important crop in many parts of the world. However, it is also susceptible to diseases that can cause significant damage to the crop. Here are 7 common diseases of maize:

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#1. Maize Dwarf Mosaic Virus (MDMV)

Category: Viral Disease

Maize Dwarf Mosaic Virus (MDMV) is a plant virus that primarily affects maize crops, though other closely related grass species can also be affected. It is spread by aphids from plant to plant and is one of the most serious diseases of maize worldwide.

Cause

MDMV is caused by an RNA virus of the Potyvirus genus and is transmitted by aphids in a nonpersistent manner. It can also be spread by infected seed and can survive in the soil for up to two years.

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Symptoms

Infected plants display symptoms such as dwarfing, yellow mottling of leaves, and stunted growth. Plants may also exhibit leaf distortion, necrosis (cell death), and a reduction in the number of kernels per ear.

Treatment

Chemical treatment for MDMV is not recommended due to the lack of effective and safe chemical control agents. However, some herbal treatments such as neem oil, garlic extract, and copper sulfate may be effective in controlling the disease.

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Neem oil has been shown to reduce the number of aphids that spread the virus, while garlic extract and copper sulfate can reduce the amount of virus in the plant.

The application of these treatments is often done through a combination of spraying and soil drenches.

Although these treatments can be effective, they may not be able to completely eradicate the virus and should be used in combination with other methods of control.

Prevention

The most effective way to prevent MDMV is to use resistant varieties of maize. This can be accomplished by selecting varieties that have been bred to be resistant to the virus or by planting varieties that have been genetically modified to be resistant.

In addition, growers can also practice crop rotation, use trap crops, and plant cover crops to reduce the spread of the virus.

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Control

Growers can also use cultural control methods to reduce the spread of MDMV. These include removing infected plants, keeping weeds under control, and limiting the movement of aphids.

In addition, growers should practice good sanitation by cleaning and disinfecting equipment, as well as preventing aphids from entering greenhouses and other enclosed areas.

#2. Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB)

Category:

Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB) is a fungal disease of maize (corn) that affects both the leaves and the ears of the crop. It is caused by the pathogen Exserohilum turcicum, which is spread through wind-borne spores.

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Cause

NCLB is caused by the fungal pathogen Exserohilum turcicum, which is spread through wind-borne spores. The spores germinate on the leaves of the plant and cause lesions, which can eventually cause the leaves to turn yellow, brown or gray.

Symptoms

Symptoms of NCLB include leaf blight (blighted leaves with brown or gray spots), stunted plant growth, wilted leaves, and discolored and/or deformed ears of corn.

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Treatment

Chemical treatments for NCLB include fungicides such as chlorothalonil, mancozeb, tebuconazole, and thiophanate-methyl. Herbal treatments include neem oil, garlic extract, and chitosan.

These treatments should be applied to affected plants as soon as symptoms are noticed in order to prevent further spread of the disease.

Prevention

Prevention of NCLB includes following crop rotation practices, using resistant varieties of maize, and managing weeds and other sources of infection. In addition, avoiding planting in areas where the disease has been known to occur in the past can help to reduce the risk of infection.

Control

Control of NCLB includes removing affected plants and debris and destroying them by burning or burying them. In addition, mulches can be used to reduce the spread of the disease, and fungicides can be applied to reduce the number of spores in the air. Finally, crop rotation can help to reduce the incidence of the disease.

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#3. Maize Streak Virus (MSV)

Category: Viral Disease

Maize Streak Virus (MSV) is a devastating disease of maize farms that is caused by the MSV-S genomic species of the Mastrevirus genus.

It is an economically important viral disease of maize plants, which is prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and is responsible for yield losses up to 100%.

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Cause

The primary cause of MSV is the infection of maize plants with the MSV-S genomic species of the Mastrevirus genus.

This virus is spread mainly through the vectoring of sap-sucking insects, such as greenbugs, which feed on the leaves of maize plants.

These insects act as a vector for the virus, as they are able to spread the virus from one plant to another.

Symptoms

Infected maize plants display numerous symptoms, including yellowing and stunting of the leaves, yellowing of the sheaths and husks, and reduced grain yield.

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In addition, the plant’s growth is severely stunted, causing it to produce fewer ears of corn. The virus can also cause necrotic lesions on the leaves and stems of the plant.

Treatment

Chemical treatment for MSV can be done through the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, such as imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, which are effective at controlling the vectoring insects.

The use of systemic fungicides, such as mancozeb and metalaxyl, can help to control the spread of the virus.

Herbal treatment for MSV can be done through the use of compounds such as garlic extract and neem oil, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

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These compounds can help to reduce the population of vectoring insects, and thus reduce the spread of the virus.

The application of chemical and herbal treatments for MSV should be done carefully and to the specific needs of each farm.

For example, the use of neonicotinoid insecticides should be done in accordance with the label instructions, as these compounds can be harmful to beneficial insects.

In addition, the use of garlic extract, and neem oil should be done in moderation, as these compounds can be toxic to certain beneficial insects.

Prevention

Prevention of MSV can be done through the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. This includes the use of cultural practices, such as crop rotation and the use of resistant varieties, as well as the use of chemical and biological control methods.

In addition, the use of insecticides and herbicides should be done judiciously and in accordance with the label instructions.

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Control

Control of MSV can be done through the implementation of IPM strategies, such as crop rotation, the use of resistant varieties, and the judicious use of insecticides and herbicides.

In addition, the use of biological control methods, such as the introduction of beneficial insects, can help to reduce the spread of the virus.

Finally, the implementation of good agricultural practices, such as crop sanitation and the judicious use of irrigation, can help to reduce the spread of the virus.

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#4. Gibberella Ear Rot (GER)

Category: Fungal Disease

Gibberella Ear Rot, also known as Fusarium Ear Rot, is a fungal disease that affects maize farms. It is caused by the fungal pathogen Fusarium verticillioides, which can enter maize plants through wounds on the stalk or husk.

Cause

Gibberella Ear Rot is caused by the Fusarium verticillioides fungus, which can enter maize plants through wounds on the stalk or husk. The fungus thrives in warm, wet conditions and is spread from infected plants to healthy plants by wind and rain.

Symptoms

Infected plants show signs of wilting, yellowing of the leaves and stunted growth. The fungus can also cause cobs to rot, with a pinkish-red discoloration of the kernels, and a white, cottony growth on the husk.

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Treatment

Treatment of Gibberella Ear Rot can be done using both chemical and herbal methods. Chemical treatments include using fungicides such as thiophanate-methyl or chlorothalonil, which should be applied in several applications at different stages of maize growth.

Herbal treatments include using neem oil or a combination of garlic and horsetail extracts, which can be applied directly to the infected plants.

Prevention

To prevent Gibberella Ear Rot, you should practice crop rotation and avoid planting maize in areas that were previously planted with maize. They should also ensure that they are using good quality seed and keep weeds under control.

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Control

Control of Gibberella Ear Rot can be achieved by using fungicides, using resistant varieties of maize, and planting maize at the right time of year. You should also monitor your farm regularly for signs of the disease.

#5. Gray Leaf Spot (GLS)

Category: Fungal Disease

Gray leaf spot is a fungal disease that affects maize farms. It is caused by the fungal pathogen Cercospora zeae-maydis, which is spread by wind or rain.

The disease is most commonly found in warm and humid regions, and it thrives in areas with heavy dews and long periods of leaf wetness.

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Cause

Gray leaf spot is caused by the Cercospora zeae-maydis fungus, which survives in the soil and is typically spread by wind or rain. The spores of the fungus attach to the leaves of maize plants, where they germinate and produce mycelia and infective structures.

Symptoms

The symptoms of gray leaf spot include yellow, tan, or gray spots on the leaves of maize plants.

The spots may be round, oval, or irregular in shape and may be bordered by a darker color.

The spots often become larger and may coalesce, forming large lesions. Infected leaves may also become brittle and may drop off the plant.

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Treatment

Chemical control of gray leaf spot can be achieved through the application of fungicides such as chlorothalonil, mancozeb, or propiconazole.

These fungicides should be applied at the first sign of infection and repeated at regular intervals. For example, propiconazole can be applied at a rate of 2.5-3.0 lb/acre every 7-14 days.

In addition to chemical control, certain herbs such as neem, garlic, and ginger have been found to be effective in controlling gray leaf spot. For example, neem oil can be applied at a rate of 1-2% solution every 7-14 days.

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Prevention

Prevention is the best way to control gray leaf spot. To prevent the spread of the disease, you should practice crop rotation, avoid planting maize in areas where the fungus is present, and remove and destroy any infected plants.

In addition, you should avoid planting maize in areas with high humidity and long periods of leaf wetness.

Control

Once gray leaf spot has been identified, it is important to take steps to control the spread of the disease.

This can be done by avoiding overhead irrigation, removing and destroying infected plants, and applying fungicides. Additionally, you should practice crop rotation and use resistant varieties of maize.

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#6. Southern Corn Leaf Blight (SCLB)

Category: Fungal Disease

Southern corn leaf blight is one of the most destructive diseases of maize and can cause significant losses in yield.

Cause

Southern Corn Leaf Blight is a fungal disease of maize crops which is caused by the fungus Bipolaris maydis. The fungus is spread through wind-borne spores and can survive in the soil for up to two years.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Southern Corn Leaf Blight include lesions on the leaves, stalks, and husks of the maize plants.

These lesions are initially yellow or tan in color but can turn brown or black as the disease progresses. The affected leaves may also curl and droop.

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Treatment

Treatment of Southern Corn Leaf Blight using chemical methods includes the use of fungicides such as mancozeb, chlorothalonil, propiconazole, and tebuconazole.

These fungicides should be applied at the first sign of disease and should be re-applied every two weeks for the duration of the growing season.

Herbal treatments for Southern Corn Leaf Blight include using a mixture of neem oil and garlic extract.

The mixture should be sprayed on the leaves of the maize plants every two weeks during the growing season.

Prevention

Prevention of Southern Corn Leaf Blight is best achieved by practicing crop rotation and avoiding planting maize in the same spot year after year.

Other preventive measures include removing infected plants and debris from the field, avoiding over-fertilization, and planting disease-resistant varieties of maize.

Control

Control of Southern Corn Leaf Blight can be achieved by regularly monitoring the crops for signs of the disease and taking prompt action when symptoms are detected.

Crop rotation, removing infected plants and debris, and planting disease-resistant varieties of maize are also effective methods of controlling the disease.

#7. Common Rust (Puccinia sorghi)

Category: Fungal Disease

Rust is a common fungal disease that affects maize farms around the world. It is caused by a variety of fungi, including Puccinia sorghi, Puccinia polysora, and Puccinia purpurea.

The disease is characterized by the appearance of reddish-brown lesions on the leaves, stems, and cobs of the maize plant.

These lesions contain masses of tiny spores, which can spread the disease to other plants.

Cause

The fungus Puccinia sorghi is the main cause of Common rust in maize farms. This fungus is spread by the wind and can survive on infected plant debris. It is also spread by rain splashing infected spores onto healthy plants.

Symptoms

Common rust in maize farms can be identified by reddish-brown pustules on the upper and lower leaf surface.

The pustules are often surrounded by yellow halos. Severely infected leaves may become distorted and die prematurely.

Treatment

Chemical treatments for common rust in maize farms include the use of fungicides such as propiconazole, chlorothalonil, and mancozeb. It is important to follow the instructions on the product label when applying fungicides.

Several herbal treatments can be used to treat common rust in maize farms. Examples include a mixture of neem oil and water, garlic and water, or chrysanthemum and water. These treatments need to be applied every 7-10 days in order to be effective.

Treatment with fungicides or herbal remedies should be applied when the disease is first noticed. This will help to prevent severe infections. The treatments should be applied to the entire plant and not just the infected leaves.

Prevention

Common rust can be prevented by planting maize varieties that are resistant to the disease. Additionally, the use of crop rotations, crop sanitation, and proper fertility management can also help to reduce the risk of infection.

Control

Controlling common rust in maize farms can be done by removing infected plants and debris resulting minimal spread of the fungus. Additionally, watering at the base of the plant and avoiding wetting the leaves can also help to reduce the risk of infection.

5 Common Pests of Maize

Here are some of the 5 common pests of maize that occur in most farms around the world.

#1. European Corn Borer

The European corn borer (ECB) is a pest that can cause significant damage to maize crops. It is a moth species native to Europe that has spread to other regions, including North America.

Causes

The larvae of the ECB feed on the stem and leaves of maize plants, causing them to become weakened, leading to reduced growth, and potentially leading to the death of the plant.

Symptoms

The symptoms of ECB infestation include holes in the leaves and stems, frass (insect excrement), and weakened or broken stems.

Treatment

To treat ECB infestation, you can use both chemical and herbal methods. Chemical control methods include the use of insecticides such as permethrin and chlorpyrifos. These chemicals can be applied to the maize plants using a sprayer.

Herbal treatment options include the use of neem oil, which is derived from the neem tree. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is toxic to ECB larvae but does not harm beneficial insects. Other herbal treatments include the use of Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) and botanical insecticides such as pyrethrins.

Prevention and Control

To prevent and control ECB infestation, you can plant maize varieties that are resistant to the ECB. Crop rotation and planting trap crops can also help to reduce the population of ECB.

Additionally, you can use physical controls such as barriers and screens to prevent ECB from accessing the maize plants.

#2. Corn Rootworm

The corn rootworm (CRW) is a destructive pest of maize crops that can cause significant damage to the roots of maize plants.

Causes

The larvae of the CRW feed on the roots of maize plants, causing them to become weakened and leading to reduced growth, wilting, and potentially death of the plant.

Symptoms

Symptoms of CRW infestation include wilting, stunted growth, and poor root development. In severe cases, the roots of the maize plant may be completely destroyed, leading to the death of the plant.

Treatment

To treat CRW infestation, you can use both chemical and herbal methods. Chemical control methods include the use of insecticides such as chlorantraniliprole, which is applied to the soil to control CRW larvae.

Other insecticides, such as imidacloprid and clothianidin, can be applied to the maize plant to prevent CRW larvae from feeding on the roots.

Herbal treatment options include the use of neem oil, which is derived from the neem tree. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is toxic to CRW larvae but does not harm beneficial insects.

Other herbal treatments include the use of Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) and botanical insecticides such as pyrethrins.

Prevention and Control

To prevent and control CRW infestation, you can plant maize varieties that are resistant to the CRW.

Crop rotation and planting trap crops can also help to reduce the population of CRW. Additionally, you can use physical controls such as barriers and screens to prevent CRW from accessing the maize plants.

#3. Armyworms

Armyworms in maize farms are a growing problem that has been seen in recent years. These pests can cause significant damage to maize crops, leading to losses in yield and quality.

Cause

Armyworms are attracted to the sweet smell of maize and can cause significant damage to the crop. They can also be spread by wind-borne spores or through infested soil.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of an armyworm infestation are small, yellowish-green larvae on the leaves and stems of the maize plants.

The larvae will feed on the leaves, leaving behind large, brown lesions. The larvae can also leave behind a sticky web-like substance on the plants.

Treatment

Chemical treatments such as insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides are often used to control armyworm infestation. Examples of insecticides include Sevin and cyhalothrin.

Fungicides such as mancozeb and chlorothalonil can be used to reduce the number of egg masses. Herbal treatments such as neem oil, garlic, and hot pepper can also be used to control the larvae.

Prevention

The best way to prevent an armyworm infestation is to keep your maize fields well-tended and free of weeds. Crop rotation and proper irrigation can also help to reduce the number of larvae in the field.

Control

There are several methods to control armyworms. These include using natural predators such as birds and predatory insects, as well as using traps and sprays to kill the larvae. Handpicking the larvae off the plants can also be effective.

#4. Stalk Borers

Stalk borers in maize farms are a common pest problem that can cause major damage to the crop. They are small moths that lay your eggs inside maize stalks, which hatch into larvae that feed on the plant material. As they feed, they create tunnels which weaken the stalk and can make it more prone to breakage.

Cause

Stalk borers are usually attracted to maize plants by the presence of damaged or weakened stalks.

Symptoms

Damage from stalk borers can be identified by the presence of small entry holes in the stalk and the presence of frass (fecal pellets) around the entry holes.

Treatment

Chemical treatments include the use of insecticides such as carbaryl, permethrin, and spinosad. Herbal treatments include the use of neem oil, garlic, and chilli powder. The herbals can be applied directly to the affected areas or diluted in water and sprayed over the entire crop.

Prevention

Preventative measures include removing any damaged or weakened stalks, rotating crop species, and using natural insect repellents such as neem oil.

Control

To control stalk borers, you can use a variety of methods such as trapping, hand-picking, and spraying insecticides.

#5. Aphids

Aphids are small insects that can cause significant damage to maize farms. They feed on the sap of the maize plants, resulting in reduced yields, stunted growth, distorted leaves and discoloration.

Cause

Aphids are usually spread by wind or through the movement of infected plants. They are also spread by aphid-carrying insects such as whiteflies, thrips and mites.

Symptoms

Aphids cause a variety of symptoms in maize plants, including reduced yields, stunted growth, distorted leaves, discoloration and sticky, sooty mold on the leaves.

Treatment

Chemical treatments are the most common way to control aphids in maize farms. Examples of chemical treatments include insecticides such as neem oil, pyrethrin and permethrin. Herbal treatments such as garlic and horsetail can also be used to control aphids in maize farms. The application of these treatments depends on the size of the infestation, the level of damage and the type of aphid.

Prevention

Prevention is the best way to control aphids in maize farms. This includes keeping the area clean and free from weeds, removing infected plants, and using resistant varieties of maize.

Control

Control measures for aphids in maize farms include crop rotation, early planting and harvesting, and using insecticides and other treatments as needed. Natural predators such as ladybugs, parasitic wasps and lacewings can also be used to control aphid populations.

Fungal Diseases of Maize

Maize is a widely grown crop and is prone to several fungal diseases. Common fungal diseases of maize include northern corn leaf blight, southern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot.

Other diseases include smut, stalk rot, and ear rot. Symptoms of fungal diseases of maize include lesions on the leaves, blighted leaves, and wilting.

The spread of these diseases is usually caused by splashing water, wind, and direct contact with infected plants.

To prevent fungal diseases of maize, crop rotation should be done every three to four years, fields should be kept weed-free, and infected plants should be removed and destroyed immediately.

Fungicides can be used to control the spread and impact of fungal diseases on maize.

Diseases Of Corn Plant

Corn is one of the most important crops and is highly susceptible to many diseases. Common corn diseases include maize dwarf mosaic virus, corn smut, northern and southern corn leaf blight, Stewart’s wilt, common rust, corn stunt, and corn rootworm.

Maize dwarf mosaic virus causes stunting and yellowing of the leaves while corn smut is a fungus that causes galls on the kernels.

Northern and southern corn leaf blight can cause large dead spots on the leaves. Stewart’s wilt is a bacterial infection that can cause leaves to yellow and wilt.

Common rust causes reddish-brown spots on the leaves. Corn stunt is caused by a virus and can stunt the growth of the plant. Lastly, corn rootworm larvae feed on the roots of the plant and can cause stunted growth.

Diseases Of Maize and Their Management

Maize is one of the most important crops in the world, but it is susceptible to various diseases. Common diseases of maize include maize streak virus, northern corn leaf blight, corn smut, corn rust, and maize dwarf mosaic virus.

The best way to manage these diseases is to use resistant varieties and practice good crop rotation and sanitation.

Cultural practices such as tillage, crop rotation, and crop residue management can also help reduce the spread of diseases.

Diseases Of Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn is a popular vegetable and is enjoyed by many people. However, sweet corn is prone to several diseases.

The most common diseases of sweet corn are leaf spot, common rust, northern corn leaf blight, and smut.

Leaf spot is a fungal disease that causes dark brown spots to form on leaves. Common rust is another fungal disease that causes yellowish-orange spots on the leaves.

Northern corn leaf blight is a fungal disease that causes brown streaks on the leaves. Finally, smut is a fungal disease that causes kernels to become black, shriveled, and distorted.

All of these diseases can be prevented by rotating crops, using resistant varieties, and avoiding overcrowding.

Conclusion

The 7 common diseases of maize mentioned here including the pests all posed a significant threat to maize crops and can cause significant yield losses. Effective control of the virus requires a multi-faceted approach that includes cultural, chemical, and biological methods. By using a combination of these methods, you can help reduce the impact of these diseases and pests on your crops and improve your yields.

Author: David

David is a Kenyan farmer from the rural village of Nairobi. Growing up, he was surrounded by the beauty of the Kenyan countryside, which sparked his passion for farming. After completing his education, he decided to pursue a career in agriculture and has since dedicated his life to providing food for his local community. David is an experienced farmer and is experienced in a range of agricultural practices, including crop rotation, animal husbandry and soil management. He is passionate about promoting sustainable agriculture and is actively working to reduce food insecurity in his community.

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