TOMATO BLIGHT - BY GEORGE EDGAR

Most gardeners get tomato blight. This disease is in the soil and can be caused by poor garden cleanup in the fall, from plants too close together, from overhead watering, and from rain splashing the spores onto the lower leaves. At first sign of the disease, control with a good fungicide such as Chlorothalonil, (Fung-onil, Daconil 2787, Ortho Garden Disease Control), or Mancozeb, or Maneb (Earl May Tomato Blight Control), or a copper based fungicide (Bonide Liquid Copper, Earl May Combination Garden Dust, and Bordeaux).

          Be sure and read label concerning the wait between application and harvest!!! Some are one day and some are up to five days.

The best control is prevention:

       Do not plant tomatoes too close together. Plants need air circulation.

       When plant is 36 to 48 inches tall, remove the lower 8 to 10 inches of leaves and stems. This makes it harder for spores to splash on lower leaves and opens the plant to better air circulation.

       Do not overhead water after 2 p.m. Spores need a drop of water on the leaves going into cool evening in order to infect plant.

       Mulch with straw, grass clippings, wood chips, or compost so spores will find it hard to splash onto lower leaves. Make sure grass clippings have dried for at least two days or they will mat and smell.

       Remove any infected leaves. Do not put in compost pile or leave in garden

June 19, 2005