Anthracnose Top Dieback is when the top of the corn plant prematurely dies earlier than normal. It necessarily isn’t caused from the Anthracnose fungus but can also be caused by hybrid characteristics, insects or drought stress. The top of the corn plant will appear yellow, purple or a dead flag leaf, hinting at corn plants that are infected.

Scouting: R3-R5

Fields with a history of Anthracnose should be scouted first when looking for Anthracnose Top Dieback. Things to look for are yellow, purple or a dead flag leaf at the top of the plant. Once to an infected plant, take the stalk and peel back the leaf sheath and look for black lesions, this is another symptom of Anthracnose top Dieback. Under moist conditions, a pink jelly like substance will exude from the lesions. The pith of the corn plant may also be rotten or discolored in the upper internodes of the plant when split. Stress will also contribute to the development of this disease.


  • Planting resistant hybrids
  • Early harvest to avoid further infection within the plant
  • Chop the hybrid for feed to prevent losses from lodging
  • Crop Rotation
  • Fungicides are available but must be sprayed in a timely manner and as a preventative 


Top dieback in corn: Is anthracnose the cause?
Stalk Rot Diseases Including Anthracnose Top Dieback Developing in Some Fields