The disease manifests itself mostly after the end of the growth phase. The leaves turn yellowish-green, lose firmness and eventually dry, starting from the base. The crowns turn white or show a yellowish midrib surrounded by a pale green blade. The affected canes are stunted, lighter in weight, and with hollow internodes but unaffected nodes and buds. Longitudinal cuts show dark red to purple internal tissue extending just above the growth ring in the nodes. In severe cases, yield is greatly reduced.
The plants show symptoms after or during the monsoon time. Fungi enter mainly through injuries by other pests such as root borer, termite, scales, mealybugs etc. Biotic stresses like drought and water logging predispose the plants for wilt infection. Moisture stress coupled with high temperature and low humidity reduces plant resistance to wilt.
Treat the seeds with moist hot air at 54°C for 150 minutes. Then dip the seeds in 0.1% bleach solution for ten to 15 minutes. Please take hygienic care and wear gloves as well as protective goggles. Do not use the vessel for household purposes afterwards.
Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments if available. No chemical treatment is effective against wilt disease in sugarcane.