What is early tomato blight?
Early tomato blight is caused by a fungus which makes tomato and potato plants lose their fruit, leaves, and overall health. The fungus spores can germinate within 2 hours to as fast as 30 minutes, depending on the right combination of favorable conditions. Temperatures of 80°F to 85°F coupled with moisture from rain, fog, dew or irrigation, provide the perfect environmental conditions for early tomato blight.
Do my plants have early tomato blight?
Early tomato blight has a few classic symptoms which help in diagnosing the disease. The most common symptom is the appearance of dark spots or “lesions” on the leaves of the plants (see picture on the right) which typically work their way up from the lower, older leaves to the top of the plant. In addition to the dark lesions, early blight can also cause collar rot, stem cankers, fruit rot, and damping-off.
How do plants get early tomato blight?
The fungus which causes the blight is called Alternaria solani and its spores can survive all winter in contaminated soil. The fungus is spread to the soil from previously infected plants, or by water, wind, insects, animals or people.
How can I control early tomato blight?
- Healthy plants with adequate nutrition are less susceptible to the disease. Water plants properly, keep the soil healthy, and feed them every 15 days with an organic plant food.
- Apply Protilizer® every seven to ten days for effective prevention and control. Drench the plant from top to bottom and allow the product to puddle at the stem.
- If your plants happen to contract early tomato blight, harvest any of the un-affected fruit without contaminating healthy ones, and remove the plant.
- To remove the plant, place a trash bag over it and pull the entire plant up from the soil. Try to contain as much of the foliage and plant debris in the bag as possible.
- Once all affected plants are removed, treat the soil with Protilizer® in order to control any remaining spores. Then, turn the soil under and allow the naturally occurring microbes to remediate the area.