See our TOS for more details. Plants in the same family as tomatoes (solanaceous plants, or nightshades), and volunteer tomato plants can also serve as hosts for Alternaria species. Many tomato cultivars exhibit some resistance to early blight. This is a strain of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis that can help prevent the infection from spreading. When your plants are staked, this helps to create better airflow around them, helping them to stay dry. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Tying them up increases the odds of a cut in the plant, so use cages to support your tomato plants. Insecticidal Soap. If the spots are near the ground, they can girdle the stems and prevent the plant from thriving by limiting the plant’s uptake of water and nutrients. The lower leaves become infected via contaminated soil – either from direct contact or from rain splashing fungal spores onto the plant. This is true even if you didn’t see any symptoms of early blight, since the pathogen can start building up without your knowledge. When you see little sunken areas starting to appear in your tomato’s leaves, you’ll … A popular resistant cultivar is ‘Cloudy Day,’ a hybrid, indeterminate cherry type that produces 4- to 5-ounce fruits. You can learn more about various types of blights affecting tomatoes here. Using drip irrigation instead of watering from overhead will help to keep your plants dry. If you see signs of early blight on one or two of your plants, it’s best to pull them up and destroy the debris immediately. You increase the chance of developing an early blight infection if you grow tomato plants in the same place in consecutive years. As they grow in size, they will develop the same concentric markings that appear on the leaves. According to experts at the University of Minnesota Extension, Bonide Mancozeb Flowable with Zinc Concentrate effectively coats the whole plant and is available from Amazon. Fascinated by the childhood discovery that plants make chemicals to defend themselves, Helga embarked on further academic study and obtained two degrees, studying plant diseases as a plant pathology major. Blight begins as spots on leaves, eventually disfiguring the tomato fruit before it is fully formed. You will have to manage them carefully to keep early blight at bay. Add two cups to the strained water and pour them into a sprayer for easier dispensing. She holds a BS in agriculture from Cornell University, and an MS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Space all tomato plants out far enough from each other to allow for plenty of air circulation to help plants dry out faster when they get wet. We can use this organic oil to treat the tomato plant. One of Helga George’s greatest childhood joys was reading about rare and greenhouse plants that would not grow in Delaware. Do not place it on the compost pile. Now that she lives near Santa Barbara, California, she is delighted that many of these grow right outside! Plant resistant cultivars whenever possible. These can pass the infection on to your tomato plants. While mosaic viruses won’t kill your plant, they will weaken them and reduce … Alternatively, use soft fabric strips or pantyhose if you must support them with ties. Even seedlings are vulnerable. If the stems develop lesions, they will be slightly sunken. Try to avoid working with or around your plants in wet weather. Fungicides, ( mancozeb with zinc 37.0 percent,) work to protect … The fungus overwinters in the soil, and spores can be spread by wind, water, insects, and even on your clothes or shoes. High humidity and temperatures above 75°F cause it to spread rapidly. Use either diluted as a spray, or dust the powder onto the foliage, every three days. They are not very fussy about temperature, and will germinate in a wide range of temperatures, from 47 to 90°F. This applies to any crops in the nightshade family as well, such as eggplant, which can also be infected by the fungus. A variety of fungicides are effective against early blight, but the fungi that cause this infection are becoming resistant in some areas. The plants are most susceptible when they are blooming, so pay particular attention to the flowers if the weather is cool and wet. Anthracnose. Start well at the beginning of the season, and you’ll harvest plenty of delicious, organic tomatoes later on. You should put the stakes in at the time of planting. It is generally fatal to both tomatoes and potatoes; it can spread for miles, and it was largely responsible for the death of one million Irish people (although the reasons for that famine were highly political and not just agricultural in nature). Use only disease-free plants and seeds. Here is more about what we do. If you see “EB” listed on tomato seed packets or in catalogs, that stands for “resistant to early blight.” Keep an eye out for this helpful notation when you are searching for resistant varieties. However, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize the amount of damage that this disease can cause.
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