Several soil-borne fungi can affect corn seeds and seedlings, causing rot and softening of seeds and seedling damping-off. The greatest damage from these pathogens occurs during the pre-emergence stage, causing poor germination of seeds or poor emergence of seedlings. Damping-off produces chlorosis of the seed leaf, and while plants infected when older will seldom die, they often experience dark lesions on roots, slower growth, and reduced yields.
Biological: Not well understood.
Cultural: Plant seed commercially pretreated with the fungicides, such as Apron XL, LS, Imazalil, or Maxim. Treat own seed if fungicide seed treatments are not available in the hybrids. Plant seed shallow in warm, welldrained soils, especially for sugar enhanced and supersweet hybrids. Select improved varieties with good early vigor.
Monitoring: Expect pythium to be a common and serious problem in float-produced transplants.
Captan 50 W: Apply to seed at 1 tsp per lb.