Tale-all on wheat

Take-All symptoms on lower stems

University of Kentucky Dept. Plant Pathology

Infected plants appear normal through crop green-up, but eventually become stunted, uneven in height, and slightly yellowed. The plants have few tillers and ripen prematurely. Wheat heads are bleached and will contain at most a few small shriveled seeds.

ffected plants can be easily pulled out of the soil because of extensive root rotting. Take-all can easily be identified by the shiny black discoloration evident under the leaf sheaths at the bases of diseased plants.


Take-all is caused by the infestation of soil with the Take-all fungus, Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritice. The fungus survives from season to season in infested wheat and barley stubble and residue of grassy weeds. Wheat becomes infected in the fall/early winter when developing roots come in contact with infested debris. Infected plants can occur individually, but more often occur in small to large groups, depending on the amount of soil infestation by the take-all fungus.

IPM Techniques

  • Allow at least one, and preferably two, years between wheat (or barley) crops in a field. Soybeans, corn, grain sorghum and oats are acceptable alternative crops.
  • Control grassy weeds, especially in years between small grain crops.
  • Fertilize fields (phosphorus and potassium) and lime fields according to soil test recommendations. Avoid fall or spring nitrogen deficiencies in the small grain crop.
  • Improve drainage of fields.
  • Tillage of diseased wheat stubble prior to planting the next non-host crop will aid in the decomposition of the infested stubble and help reduce the population of the Take-all fungus.
  • At present there are no wheat cultivars resistant to Take-all available.

References and Additional Information

  • IPM-4 Kentucky IPM Manual for Small Grains
  • PPA-10c Kentucky Plan Disease Management Guide for Small Grains by D.E. Hershman and Paul Vincelli
  • Common Diseases of Small Grain Cereals. F. J. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Londres 40, Apdo. Postal 6-641, Mexico, D.F., Mexico
  • Compendium of Wheat Diseases, M.V. Wiese, The American Phytopathological Society Press, 1987.
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