[tomato] Many gardeners are reporting early blight

T Wallace (Tomato@GlobalGarden.com)
Thu, 20 Jul 2000 15:37:57 -0700 (PDT)


Last year, the drought squeezed the life out of
Americaís favorite vegetable. This year, excessive
rain is taking a different toll. Gardeners are finding
the sheer biomass outgrowing the cages. Stems sprawl,
strain, and collapse. Donít try to untangle the cage
from the plant; the stems are easily damaged. One fix
is to take three tall, wood stakes and drive them in
against the out rim of the case. They should stick up
above the wire, so the top of the tomato plant can be
corralled within the stakes using twine.

Another option is to give the plan a haircut. Top it,
says Jon Traunfeld, of the Maryland Home and Garden
Information Center. Even if you lose flowers and young
fruit now, the plant will produce a bountiful harvest
in its new compact state.

The other more serious problem is leaf yellowing.
Lower leaves naturally discolor as they age, but if
the discoloration is accompanied by brown spots and
lesions, you have a disease name early blight. A lot
of gardeners are reporting these symptoms now.
Uncontrolled it can wipe out a tomato plant. 

Traunfeld say tomato growers should remove and discard
affected leaves and lay a thick mulch because fungal
spores on bare soil are kicked up onto the leaves by
rainfall and gardenerís hose.

The disease can be controlled by sprays, including a
fungicide called Daconil 2787, or organically using a
liquid copper spray or fungicidal soap.

Donít compost infected leaves.

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