Silver top is named for the whitish seed heads resulting from damage to the seed stalk after panicle emergence but before seed development. Affected seed heads die and bleach white, appearing to mature early. Stems of affected heads can be pulled out of the leaf sheath easily if stem-boring insects are involved. Affected heads do not set seed, and the rest of the plant appears healthy. Causes of silver top include insects or fungi that damage the seed stalk (Smith et al., 1989), thereby cutting off the supply of water and nutrients. In addition, environmental conditions such as late spring frosts or nutrient deficiencies or excesses can also cause silver top (Smith et al., 1989).


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