Gray mold caused serious losses to some greenhouse growers of raspberries in Iowa last year. Gray mold or Botrytis blight is caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, which has a wide host range with over 200 reported hosts among ornamentals plants, vegetables and fruits. In addition, Botrytis can cause different kinds of plant diseases, attacking seedlings, flowers, fruits, stems and foliage. It is also a major cause of postharvest rot in fruits. The disease can occur in the greenhouse as well as in the field when weather is humid and cool.
The Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) has received several questions from southwest Iowa producers about corn mold this harvest season. Based on producer descriptions of black mold or black dust that becomes airborne when the plants are disturbed, common corn smut is the most likely culprit in many of these cases.
Alison Robertson, extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University, will address methods to reduce mold production on growing crops to decrease risk of molds in feed after harvest. Trevor Smith, University of Guelph, Ontario animal biosciences adjunct professor, will speak about mycotoxins in feed.
Fungi and molds are popping up and out in Iowa lawns and gardens thanks to cool, wet conditions the past few weeks. Horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach tell gardeners how to identify and manage some of the more common ones.
Tear out dry wall or plaster to the flood line, and discard any wet insulation, Yearns said. Wall cavities that are moldy must be cleaned. Then allow sufficient time for all the framing lumber to become thoroughly dry. Check the wood moisture content weekly until it drops below 20 percent. If electricity is available, use fans and open windows to let in dry outside air and exhaust the damp inside air.
Due to a combination of temperature and humidity last fall, producers need to be aware of the high risk of blue eye mold, a fungus that grows on corn kernels.