meadow barley smut

Asked May 30, 2017, 12:13 PM EDT

How to control/eliminate meadow barley smut?

Benton County Oregon

3 Responses

There are more than one fungi that can cause smut disease of meadow barley and all can be seedborne. Control of the pathogenic fungus in barley seed is critical for management of meadow barley smut. There are fungicides registered for use in barley as a seed treatment for smut. You can read more about the various smuts that affect barley and the fungicides registered for use here:

Cynthia - Thanks for your response. What can be done to control or eliminate infected meadow barley plants now established in our 2-acre meadow? Greg

The smut pathogen remains dormant in infected mature seed. After seed germination, the fungus grows in the crown node and later invades inflorescence tissues. This allows the fungus to be transported into the developing spike, where it sporulates, and disperses spores at spike emergence. These smut spores can infect infect other barley plants in flower, creating more infected seeds. Successful infection is favored by a cool and moist climate during anthesis. The optimum time for infection is between early and mid anthesis, but successful infection can occur even after anthesis. We don't have any materials that can be applied to prevent infection during antithesis. So the route to control infection in a current planting is through replanting. But a period time with no barley is required is required between plantings if the smut is a type that can survive in soil as well as seeds. I would suggest getting the smut identified if you consider replanting. The OSU Plant Clinic should be able to identify the particular smut; a fee is required for a diagnosis.