Crown rot

Crown rot


  • The fungus can survive for up to 2 years on infected cereal stubble, from previous cereal plants, volunteer plants or grass weeds.

  • Survival is enhanced by dry summer conditions

  • Disease development is favoured by moist humid conditions


  • Plants are frequently stunted and produce few tillers

  • The crown, lower leaf sheaths, and tillers can become honey brown

  • Deadheads or whiteheads are produced from a more severe infection

  • If the infection is very severe, plants will die


  • Yield can be severely diminished by production of deadheads, and by the death of plants


Reducing crown rot inoculum by implementing correct rotations is the most important component in the integrated management of crown rot. Stubble management is also an important factor determining the survival of the fungus. Infection rates can be reduced by sowing between rows of standing stubble. There are no fungicides currently available to control crown rot.

Links and Resources

DEPI VIC - Crown rot

The crown rot section contains information on symptoms, survival between crops, hosts, conditions that may cause an outbreak, and control. Published 1996, updated 2013, reviewed 2013.

GRDC - Crown rot in cereals Fact Sheet

4 page PDF. Key points, about the disease, management strategies, symptoms, reducing yield loss through planning and management, assessing disease risk, and reducing crown rot disease levels. Published 2009.

Victorian winter crop summary 2014 - Crown rot

Table 6: Wheat disease guide. Page 11. Causal organism, symptoms, occurrence, inoculum source, and control. Updated annually.