Popular Hemp

Arizona hemp growers suffer losses due to crown and root rot

, Arizona hemp growers suffer losses due to crown and root rot

With the burgeoning market for CBD, it is no wonder hemp cultivation has taken off in many US states. But successfully growing this crop means finding the right conditions, as some growers in Arizona are discovering the hard way.

Last summer, about 85 percent of drip-irrigated industrial hemp plants in Yuma and Graham counties experienced symptoms of crown and root rot, a serious disease that leads to leaf yellowing and browning, sudden wilting and plant death.

Agronomists at the University of Arizona identified the fungus-like pathogen behind these hemp crop losses as Pythium aphanidermatum, also known as water mold.

Pythium species prefer damp environments and infect a range of agricultural crops, including beets, carrots, peppers, corn, and wheat. They can affect hemp at any stage of growth.

Pythium crown and root rot is seen when hemp is grown in hot climates and in heavy soils with poor drainage, using plastic mulch and excessive irrigation.

The authors say this fungal disease may limit industrial hemp production in hot and dry environments where farmers rely on excessive irrigation, plastic mulch and soils with poor drainage, conditions prevalent on Arizona farms.

Infection can be minimized by ensuring crops are grown on soils with good drainage, regulating irrigation to prevent water saturation and removing mulch to reduce soil moisture. No fungicides have been registered for the management of Pythium species in hemp.

Hemp is new to Arizona and one-quarter of the 5,430 acres planted in 2019 suffered crop losses. The number of acres planted dropped to a mere 1,130 in 2020, perhaps due to difficulties associated with it being the state’s hottest and driest summer on record.

0 thoughts on “Arizona hemp growers suffer losses due to crown and root rot”

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.