One of the major threats that sunflowers face today is Fusarium, a filamentous fungus that is found largely in soil and plants. It is a pathogen that over the years has caused an increasing amount of damage and loss of sunflower crops, sometimes as extensive as 80 percent of damaged crops. Downy mildew is another disease to which sunflowers are susceptible. Their susceptibility to downy mildew is particularly high due to the sunflower's way of growth and development. Sunflower seeds are generally planted only an inch deep in the ground. When such shallow planting is done in moist and soaked earth or soil, it increases the chances of diseases such as downy mildew. Another major threat to sunflower crops is broomrape, a parasite that attacks the root of the sunflower and causes extensive damage to sunflower crops, as high as 100 percent.
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