Keep an eye out for Rhizoctonia web blight

Rhizoctonia infects numerous herbaceous and woody ornamental plants. It has an extremely wide host range and can affect plants from propagation to landscapes. I have recently seen it infecting begonia, ferns, hydrangea liners, and flats of microgreens. Rhizoctonia infection often goes unnoticed until plant canopies discolor and collapse. It is present year-round inside greenhouses; however, it is most common in outdoor production during the summer months.

Rhizoctonia is often the primary cause of pre- and post-emergence damping off. It can infect every part of the plant (roots, stem, leaves, and flowers), causing root and crown rot, stem blighting, and aerial web blighting. Unlike most fungal pathogens that spread by water-splashed or wind-blown spores, Rhizoctonia spreads by hyphae (fine, thread-like filaments that make up the fungus). It is the cobweb-like hyphal growth that is often diagnostic of Rhizoctonia infection.

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