Basal glume blotch is a disease that can affect cereal grains, including barley, and can cause serious damage to the plant and even kill young seedlings. Keep reading to learn more about recognizing and treating basal glume blotch of barley crops.
Barley Basal Glume Blotch Info
What is basal glume blotch of barley? Also known as barley basal glume rot and spikelet rot, this disease is caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas atrofaciens (sometimes also called Pseudomonas syringae pv. atrofaciens). It affects the glume of the plant, or the small bract that grows out of the stem and partially covers each kernel of grain.
Symptoms begin with small, dark green, watery lesions on the base of the glumes. Eventually, these lesions will darken to near black and may spread across the entire glume. If held up to the light, infected glumes appear translucent.
A gray ooze might develop on the base of the glumes, and dark water-soaked spots may appear on the leaves. If seedlings are infected with the disease, they may be overtaken by these watery lesions and die.
Managing Basal Glume Blotch Disease
Barley basal glume rot is primarily borne by seed, which means the best way to hold off the disease is to plant barley seed that is treated with fungicide and to practice crop rotation. This will help knock back the numbers of any bacteria present in the soil, and it will also reduce the likelihood of other diseases damaging the seed and giving the blotch bacteria a pathway in.
The bacteria can survive in the soil and on the surface of the plant as well, and spreads best in warm, damp conditions. You can help prevent this spread by only irrigating from below and spacing plants out to encourage good airflow.
Glume rot on barley doesn’t have to spell doom. Prevention is key to growing this crop effectively.