Caused by the bacterium, Pantoea stewartii, Stewart’s wilt has two phases. The first affects seedlings that may develop linear pale green to yellow streaks, wilt and dry up. The second phase often occurs after tasseling and is recognized by the long, irregularly shaped lesions that are light green to yellow, becoming straw colored with maturity. Stewart’s wilt is carried by corn flea beetles that pass the bacteria to corn as they feed on the plants. The severity of the disease is related to the population of corn flea beetles with cold temperatures reducing populations and resulting in lower infection rates.
- Remove infected plants immediately and dispose of them to reduce the spread of the bacteria.
- Wash tools, hands, and clothing that may carry the disease.
- Use resistant cultivars
- Crop rotation using crops from different plant families
- Control corn flea beetles with insecticides