Northeast Tomato Plants Struck by Blight and More

comments (9) July 24th, 2009 in Gallery

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Anatole Anatole, digital director
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I bought a nice collection of tomato plants at this year's Tomatomania but the wet summer in Western Connecticut has taken its toll on most of my plants. I'm no expert, but from what I've read, I think my plants are suffering from late blight, a contagious fungal growth that is destroying tomato plants across the Northeast.

An extremely wet summer in New England has made conditions perfect for fungal growth. Other diseases that are running rampant include septoria leaf spot, bacterial speck, and bacterial spot. Yum!

How to protect your crop

The experts say to bury any sick plants and do not use the soil again, at least for tomato plants.

For more on growing healthy tomatoes, see this VegetableGardener.com article. And for more on the current situation in the Northeast, check out this article from Garden Smart.


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posted in: Gallery, tomato, blight

Comments (9)

Tallgrass3 writes: The picture of the late blight that afflicted New England tomato plants presumably because of heavy rains looks exactly like what happened to my tomatoes here in New Mexico, The conditions could not be more different. Here, we have suffered record drought, exacerbated by my somewhat erratic watering schedule. The plants began to curl and turn brown soon after planting, whereupon my watering became more diligent. However, unresponsive to better watering, one plant gradually lost all its leaves and died,after producing some perfectly healthy tomatoes. A precious heirloom plant did slightly better; not all of its branches were affected; its tomatoes were few but healthy.

This is the only garden plot I have; is there some way I could purge the soil of its infected condition so I might use it for tomatoes next year?
Posted: 12:16 pm on September 24th
tazebell writes: What a wasted year! I can't believe how this slipped up on us while it rained steadily and hovered around 60 degrees for much of the summer. I lost pretty much every plant and I had some collection too. Cherokees, Blacks of several varieties, Rutgers, Brandywine, Roma, Mortgage Lifter, Better Boy and Red Cherries. The yellows - pear, cherries and grapes - didn't totally crash (these were plants I actually purchased) but the pears especially tended to drop off the plant pretty fast. I don't think any of those had a good taste either.

Lost my cukes too in this dang blight. Maybe next year! I can hardly wait to start my seeds again.
Posted: 9:57 am on September 30th
joljo writes: Thanks for your articles and posts. Now know what is happening to our tomato plants here in southeast PA. All 19 of our tomoto plants have the Blight. Sad after waiting all season for a nice crop. Hopefully next year we'll fair better.
Posted: 10:33 pm on August 10th
soiljunkie writes: Interesting, GardenGirl, only my yellow pears have been affected, as well. Juliets, Rutgers, Sweet 100's are all okay so far.
Posted: 10:07 am on August 8th
kathy978 writes: My husband just found out a few days ago that the tomato plants he had purchased from a large home improvement chain all have tobacco mosaic. I guess we're in for a double whammy. Vegegardngirl: Thanks so much for the advice on disposing of the plants.
Posted: 2:10 pm on August 7th
veggiegardngirl writes: Anatole - The entire east coast has been struck with Late Blight of Tomatoes! The pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, was responsible for the Irish potato famine of the 1840’s. The spores multiplied and spread quickly in the wet weather we had in early summer. Once your tomatoes have the symptoms, remove the plants, put them in plastic bags and dispose in the trash. Do not compost or bury the plants! For more information on this disease and how to prevent it next year, check out the University of Maryland's Late Blight of Tomato webpage. http://www.growit.umd.edu/Late%20Blight%20Tomatoes/index.cfm It includes a photo gallery and video on how to diagnose Late Blight on Tomatoes.
Posted: 12:04 pm on August 7th
curryleaf writes: I only have one plant that's having trouble. (Famous last words?) but I don't know if it's blight or just a sad plant??? I didn't see any big black legions... But it IS defoliated now...

But my tomatoes don't look like this though:
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/07/17/nyregion/blight.190.jpg

Cornell has a factsheet on this disease too:
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Potato_LateBlt.htm
Posted: 11:53 am on August 7th
Kate_Frank writes: I just found out my CSA (in Connecticut) lost their entire crop of tomatoes! I feel bad for them... and also for me because I was reeeeeally looking forward to getting tomatoes every week.
Posted: 3:03 pm on August 6th
TheGardenGirl writes: My tomato plants are still doing ok. I noticed that my yellow pear tomatoes have been affected. The rain has really hurt this year. Thanks for the links!
Posted: 7:06 pm on July 26th
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