Upper Midwestern alfalfa growers dealing with cold, wet weather will want to watch for symptoms of fungal diseases like spring black stem or leaf spot, says Deborah Samac.

Scout for distorted, yellow stems and leaves that die off even when roots and crowns appear to be healthy, says the research plant pathologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).  Some small black leaf spots may be visible.

“The plants will recover and put out new shoots once the weather warms up,” says Samac. “This is not an indication of plant death.”

Growers can send plants for diagnosis to: Deborah Samac, USDA-ARS, 1991 Upper Buford Circle, 495 Borlaug Hall, St. Paul, MN 55108.  To prevent drying out during shipping, package samples in ziplocked bags, Samac advises.

For additional information, contact her at 612-625-1243.

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