Wanted: Corn seedlings showing symptoms of seedling diseases

May 15, 2017 7:24 AM
Blog Post

Cooler and wetter conditions can effect corn germination and emergence, but they can also provide a favorable environment for seedling diseases.

One research study being conducted by ISU is taking a closer look at seedling diseases in corn. The goals of the research are (i) to identify what pathogens are reducing corn stands and (ii) determine their sensitivity to various fungicides found in seed treatments.

To help expand the scope of this study, we are looking for corn seedlings showing symptoms of seedlings diseases (yellow, dying leaves, wilted, stunted).

The corn seedling on the bottom is yellowed and wilted and is probably infected where as the one above it looks fairly healthy. Photo by: Alison Robertson

Once received, we will be isolating pathogens from the diseased seedlings and will gladly share that data for the samples you submitted.  Please use the following protocol to collect and ship diseased seedlings:

  1. Collect 20 to 25 “diseased” corn seedlings. Try to collect seedlings showing a range of symptoms. Avoid dead seedlings since “dead plants tell no tales”.
  2. Carefully dig up the corn seedlings using a small trowel or knife and gently remove loose soil around the roots.
  3. Place plants in a Ziploc bag. DO NOT ADD MOISTURE TO THE SAMPLE!!!
  4. Fill out as much of this survey. (pdf file)
  5. Submit samples and survey to Corn Seedling Disease Survey, 351 Bessey Hall, Iowa State University


Please submit samples as soon as possible after collecting. Please avoid collecting and submitting samples on Thursdays and Fridays. Earlier in the week is better.

All data will be kept confidential. The GPS coordinates will only be used to map and identify soil type and characteristics and for climate data.

For additional information or if you have any questions, please contact Alison Robertson, ISU Extension Corn Plant Pathologist at alisonr@iastate.edu or 515-294-6708 or Rebecca Vittetoe, ISU Extension Field Agronomist at rka8@iastate.edu or 319-653-4811.


Alison Robertson Professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology

Dr. Alison Robertson is a professor of plant pathology and microbiology. She provides extension education on the diagnosis and management of corn and soybean diseases. Her research interests include Pythium seedling disease of corn and soybean and Goss's wilt. Dr. Robertson received her bach...

Rebecca Vittetoe Field Agronomist in EC Iowa

Rebecca Vittetoe is an extension field agronomist in east central Iowa. Educational programs are available for farmers, agribusiness, pesticide applicators, and certified crop advisors.

Areas of expertise include agronomy, field crop production and management of corn, soybeans, and...