Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples yesterday announced the Texas Department of Agriculture has been granted approval by the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a Section 18 exemption allowing the use of flutriafol (Topguard) for the control of cotton root rot in Texas. 

“Texas leads the nation in cotton production so we are pleased to obtain this authorization to help farmers fight this destructive plant disease,” Commissioner Staples said. “Cotton is vital to the state’s economy and securing this Section 18 exemption may make the difference between a farmer having a successful crop or suffering financial disaster.”

Cotton root rot, caused by the fungus Phymatotrichum omnivorum, is one of the most destructive fungal plant disease organisms. In Texas, the disease impacts cotton, ornamentals and fruit, nut and shade trees. Cotton root rot has been reported in Texas counties from the Red River to the Rio Grande and from Tom Green County to the Neches River.

Cotton root rot symptoms first appear when the temperatures get hot and soil temperatures reach 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The fungus is fast-acting and first causes wilt at the upper portion of the plants. Within 72 hours, the lower leaves wilt. By the third day, permanent wilt has occurred and is followed by death of the entire plant. The fungus can survive in the soil for many years.

Topguard must be used following all directions, restrictions and precautions on the product label, as well as restrictions within the exemption notice.

Certified applicators, licensed applicators or persons under the direct supervision of licensed applicators only must make applications.

For more information on the Section 18 exemption, contact your county Extension office or call TDA at (512) 936-2535 or 800-TELL-TDA. A copy of the approval notice is located on the TDA website at TexasAgriculture.gov.