Now that you’re done with harvest and are reflecting on the yield and quality of the crop, what are you seeing? If your crop was great all season and then ended up with pink rot in your tubers, it’s time to plan for better tuber rot control.
Pink rot and Pythium leak are both tuber rot diseases that can turn your bountiful harvest into a rotting mess. Phytophthora erythroseptica causes pink rot, which is characterized by the pink color inside of infected tubers. Infection of tubers typically occurs from the stolon, though pink rot has also been shown to be able to infect tubers directly. Severe infections can cause stem wilting late in the season.
Unlike pink rot, Pythium leak (Pythium ultimum) only occurs when tubers are damaged during harvesting; the fungus enters the tubers through mechanical wounding and bruising. Pythium leak causes moist, grey/brown lesions on tubers which may release a clear, brown liquid.
Applications of metalaxyl/mefenoxam products such as Xyler FC at planting and during the early bulking stage provides protection through harvest against both pink rot and Pythium leak. The timing of these applications often coincides with the application of other fertility, insecticide, and fungicide products, so using products that are tank-mix compatible (like Xyler FC) is critical to ensuring effective applications. Another benefit of Xyler FC vs other metalaxyl/mefenoxam products (Ridomil Gold/Ultra Flourish) is that it requires less water, resulting in fewer water fills during planting, and especially important for aerial applications.
Cultural practices to avoid excess soil moisture during the season and mechanical damage during harvest can help prevent tuber rots. Both pathogens can survive in the soil for many years, so crop rotations are not always effective. It’s smart to always plan for an in-furrow application of Xyler FC and include Xyler FC in your on-going foliar disease management plan.
With thoughtful planning using chemical controls and cultural management tools, you can rest easy knowing that the hard work you put in all season long will pay off in the end.