The disease affects wheat, barley, oats, rye and triticale.
Affected plants are usually randomly scattered through the crop. Affected tillers usually have a single distinct bright yellow stripe on each leaf which extends onto the leaf sheath. All leaves on a tiller usually show symptoms but not necessarily all tillers on a plant. The vascular tissue close to the nodes is frequently discoloured. Tillers can ripen prematurely and produce white-heads.
The fungus causing the disease is soil-borne and enters the roots of plants via physical damage. In the UK this disease used to be common in wheat following grass where high levels of wireworm (Agriotes spp.) were found - causing root damage. Soil-borne conidia normally enter roots through damage in the winter months and the fungus grows up the xylem vessels, blocking vascular tissues, particularly at the nodes. The fungus survives in crop debris returned to the soil after harvest.
The disease is common but at very low levels in the UK and does not cause economic losses.
The disease does not warrant cultural control measures. The incidence of the disease can be reduced by crop rotation and wheat in conventional rotations is rarely, if ever, badly affected. The fungus most likely survives on grass weeds so elimination of such weeds is also likely to reduce disease incidence. The fungus also survives mainly in the top 10cm of the soil so ploughing will also help to remove inoculum.