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Growing Corn and Preventing Stewart’s Wilt: A Comprehensive Guide

by Donna
3 minutes read

Corn: A Guide to Growing and Preventing Stewart’s Wilt


Growing corn is a tradition that has been passed down for generations. Whether you grow it for food or just for fun, there are some common problems that can affect your corn crop. One of the most common is Stewart’s wilt, a bacterial disease that can cause serious damage to your plants.

What is Stewart’s Wilt?

Stewart’s wilt is caused by a bacterium called Erwinia stewartii. It can infect corn plants at any stage of growth, but it is most common in young seedlings and mature plants.

Symptoms of Stewart’s Wilt

The symptoms of Stewart’s wilt can vary depending on the age of the plant and the severity of the infection. In young seedlings, the bacteria can cause the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. In mature plants, the bacteria can cause the leaves to develop long, brown streaks. The bacteria can also cause the stalks to become weak and brittle, and the ears of corn to become stunted and deformed.

How to Prevent Stewart’s Wilt

There are several things you can do to prevent Stewart’s wilt in your corn crop:

  • Purchase disease-free seed. One of the best ways to prevent Stewart’s wilt is to purchase disease-free seed from a reputable source.
  • Choose resistant varieties. Some varieties of corn are more resistant to Stewart’s wilt than others. When choosing a variety to plant, look for one that is labeled as resistant or highly resistant to the disease.
  • Control corn flea beetles. Corn flea beetles are insects that can spread the bacteria that causes Stewart’s wilt. To control corn flea beetles, you can use insecticides or neem oil.
  • Rotate your crops. Planting corn in the same location year after year can increase the risk of Stewart’s wilt. To reduce the risk, rotate your crops so that corn is not planted in the same location more than once every three years.

How to Treat Stewart’s Wilt

If your corn plants do become infected with Stewart’s wilt, there are a few things you can do to try to save them:

  • Remove infected plants. The first step is to remove any infected plants from your garden. This will help to prevent the bacteria from spreading to other plants.
  • Apply a bactericide. There are several bactericides that can be used to treat Stewart’s wilt. Be sure to follow the directions on the product label carefully.
  • Water your plants deeply. Watering your plants deeply will help to keep them hydrated and healthy. This will make them more resistant to the bacteria that causes Stewart’s wilt.


Stewart’s wilt is a serious disease that can damage your corn crop. However, by following these tips, you can help to prevent and treat the disease and keep your corn plants healthy and productive.

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