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How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Bacterial leaf blight lesions.

Small Grains

Bacterial Blights

Bacterial leaf streak and black chaff: Xanthomonas campestris pv. translucens
Bacterial leaf blight of wheat: Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae
Halo blight of oats: Pseudomonas syringae pv. coronafaciens
Stripe blight: Pseudomonas syringae pv. striafaciens

(Reviewed 2/07, updated 2/07)

In this Guideline:


Bacterial blights first appear as small, water-soaked spots. The lesions expand into spots, blotches, or streaks with a characteristic appearance. Bacterial leaf streak affects barley and wheat, occasionally oats. Lesions become brown streaks along leaf veins. Droplets or a shiny film forms on the streaks under damp conditions, leaving yellowish granules or scales upon drying. Black chaff is a blackening of glumes caused by the leaf streak pathogen when wet weather occurs during heading. Bacterial leaf blight affects wheat. Lesions develop into light tan spots, blotches, or streaks. Halo blight affects oats. Light tan spots characterized by a pale green margin (halo) may grow together to form blotches. Heavy infections kill leaves. Stripe blight affects oats. Light tan spots do not have a pale margin, and usually enlarge to form stripes. Heavy infections kill leaves.


Blights seldom cause significant damage in California because they develop only during wet weather. These bacteria survive on crop residue, volunteer grains and wild grasses, and grain seed.


Use clean seed, practice crop rotation, avoid overhead irrigation if blight becomes a problem, and eliminate crop residue.


[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Small Grains
UC ANR Publication 3466
R. M. Davis, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
L. F. Jackson, Agronomy, UC Davis

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