Information about Late Blight for Gardeners

Growing tomatoes and potatoes in the home garden can be fun and rewarding, but with it comes responsibility to understand the importance of late blight.  This is considered a “community” disease because the pathogen is highly contagious and very destructive.  When late blight is not effectively managed in a planting, even a small garden, the pathogen can destroy not only those plants, but it can spread to other plantings, including those of farmers who depend on successful crops for their livelihood.  This disease cannot be “lived with” unmanaged.  Fortunately late blight occurs sporadically in many areas, and thus prompt action when an outbreak occurs can minimize pathogen spread and potential of an epidemic ensuing, as occurred in 2009 in the northeastern US.

- Use recommended control practices.  See web sites listed below for details.

- Inspect plants every week for symptoms.

- Submit suspect sample for diagnosis.  Put in plastic bag and hand deliver or ship with over-night service.  Do not log report. Diagnostician will do if confirmed.

            Click here to find a local plant clinic. http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html

- If late blight is confirmed:

            notify neighbors growing susceptible plants.

            destroy affected plant tissue.

- Apply fungicides weekly if plants are kept and continually remove leaves, stems and fruit that develop symptoms.

 

Tomato plants with late blight  Late blight on lower tomato stems  Bagged tomato plants with late blight

Tomato plants with late blight put in a garbage bag and left in the sun for a few days before disposal.

Click here to obtain Brochure on Late Blight and its Managment.