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Agricultural crops :: Cash crops :: Sugarcane
Sugarcane Diseases

Red Rot - Colletotrichum falcatum

Sett Rot or Pine Apple Disease - Ceralocystis paradoxa, Ceratostomella paradoxa

Grassy Shoot Disease - Virus

Ratoon Stunting - Bacterium

Mosaic Disease - Sugarcane Mosaic Virus

Red Rot : Colletotrichum falcatum

Healthy leaf 
Red rot affected leaf 
Infected sett
  • The first symptom of red rot in the field is discolouration of the young leaves. The margins and tips of the leaves wither and the leaves droop.
  • The discolouration and withering continues from the tip to the leaf base until the whole crown withers and the plant dies, within 4 to 8 days.
  • In a single stool, most of the stalks may wither almost simultaneously.
  • As the disease advances the entire stem rots and the central tissues become pithy.
  • The tissues are reddened throughout the basal portion, especially the vascular bundles, which are intensely red; there may be cross-wise white patches interrupting the reddened tissues.
  • The internodes may shrink and when such canes are split open large cavities may be found in the centre and the pithy tissues may appear brown. Often a profuse whitish growth of the fungal mycelium may be found in the brown background of the host tissue.
  • In some cases, black, minute, velvety bodies, representing the acervuli of the fungus, may also be seen Since reddening is a common symptom of other diseases of sugarcane, the white patch symptom is an important diagnostic characteristic of red rot.
  • In the infected plants the leaves may show symptoms in the form of dark red lesions in the mid-rib, which may elongate, turning blood-red with dark margins and later on with straw-coloured centres.
  • In the older lesions minute black dots, representing the acervuli, can be seen. Often the infected leaves may break at the lesions and hand down

  • Selection of setts from healthy nursery programme
  • Growing of recommended resistant and moderately resistant varieties viz., Co 86249, CoSi 95071, CoG 93076, CoC 22, CoSi 6 and CoG 5
  • Adopt sett treatment with Carbendazim before planting (Carbendazim 50 WP @ 0.05% or Carbendazim 25 DS @ 0.1% along with 1.0% Urea for 5 minutes)
  • The irrigation interval in a red rot affected field must be lengthened. Once in 15 days during tillering, growth phases and once in 25 days during maturity phase which restricts the spread
  • Removal of the affected clumps at an early stage and soil drenching with 0.1 % Carbandazim 50 WP or 0.25 % lime. 266
  • The trash of red rot affected field after harvest may be uniformly spread and burnt
  • The red rot affected field must be rotated with rice for one season and other crops for two seasons.



Sett rot or Pine Apple disease: Ceralocystis paradoxa,Thielaviopsis paradoxa

Infected crop
Healthy crop
Chemical for sett treatment 
  • The disease primarily affects the sugarcane setts.
  • When diseased setts are planted they may rot before germination, or the shoots may die after reaching a height of about 6-12 inches.
  • If infected shoots survive, they are very much stunted and chlorotic.
  • Eventually the leaves may wither and the shoots wilt.
  • If the affected shoots and setts are examined the central portion of the shoots will be seen discoloured red and the contents of the sett rotting.
  • A characteristic pineapple smell is associated with the rotting and hence the name.

  • Sett treatment with Carbendazim before planting (Carbendazim 50 WP @ 0.05% or Carbendazim 25 DS @ 0.1% along with 1.0% Urea for 5 minutes)
  • Proper drainage and planting of setts in 1-2 cm depth.


Grassy Shoot:Virus

  • The disease is characterized by proliferation of vegetative buds from the base of the cane giving rise to crowded bunch of tillers bearing narrow leaves.
  • The tillers bear pale yellow to completely chlorotic leaves.
  • Cane formation rarely takes place in affected clumps and if formed the canes are thin with short internodes.
  • The virus is readily transmitted by sap inoculation and in the field it is transmitted through infected setts and perpetuated through crop ratooning. The aphids are the vectors for this disease.

  • Rogue out infected plants in the secondary and commercial seed nursery.
  • Treat setts with aerated steam at 50°C for 1 hour to control primary infection.
  • Growing resistant varieties viz., Co 86249, CoG 93076 and Coc 22
  • Spray dimethoate @ 0.1 % to control insect vector
  • Avoid ratooning if GSD incidence is more than 15 % in the plant cr


Ratoon Stunting: Clavibacre xyli sp. xyli

  • This is a xylem limited bacterial diseases of sugarcane found in some parts of India in recent years.
  • The affected plants are stunted, the stunting being most severe in stubble and ratoon crops.
  • The setts taken from diseased plants germinate poorly and the few shoots that emerge grow very slowly.
  • RSD bacterium spreads through infected setts and harvesting implements.

Healthy plant 

Infected leaf

  • The disease spreads mainly through planting material, setts should be selected from healthy plants.
  • Treating the setts in hot water at  50C for about 2 hours.


Mosaic: :Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMO)


  • Mosaic patterns with contrasting shades of dark and light green patches appear on leaf.

Healthy plant 

Infected leaf

  • Roguing infected plants and chemical sprays to kill the insect vectors are also advocated.
  • However, the most practical method of controlling the disease is to grow mosaic-resistant or, at least, tolerant varieties.

Updated on April, 2014

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