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Help identify a tomato disease?

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Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  1airdoc on 5/21/2012, 6:23 am

I planted 16 tomatoes in a new 8x2' bed with new MM this spring. They are growing like gangbusters and many have set fruit, but in the last 2 weeks I've noted this problem of yellow and black spots developing on the lower leaves of a few of the plants. I was hoping the new MM would allow me to avoid fusarium and verticillium wilt, but I'm afraid that is what I have, although this doesn't look exactly like the images I see online. Can anyone help me positively identify this problem?

Here's a photo of how the problem begins on the bottom leaf:


Here's a photo of the problem more fully involving a larger leaf:


I see that it can also affect the leaf stem, as well:


Do you know what this is and if there is anything I can or should do about it?
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  walshevak on 5/21/2012, 6:44 am

It does look like a blight and somebody else will have to help you out. A trip to the County Extension office might help you and they like to keep track of any disease showing up in the area.

Did you start your own seedlings or buy them?

Kay

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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  camprn on 5/21/2012, 6:49 am

UGH! Sorry to see this Doc. That looks like Early Blight, the spot on the leaves and stems. It's not a definitive diagnosis, but that's what it looks like to me. You want to carefully remove all the effected leaves and stems and bag them right there, do not let them fall to the ground. Throw the bag in the trash. After pruning, wash your hands and clippers, disinfect the clippers with alcohol and change your clothing; You understand infection protocol. There is plenty to read on the web about treatment. Contact your Extension Service Ag Agent and if you have a sample show it to them. They will want to know there is blight around and may be able to offer you some advice on how you can extend the life of your tomato plants. Sad It may be late enough for you that you may still get a harvest.
Last year my main crop of canning tomatoes had early blight, but it was late enough into the season that I had good fruit set. I did have to harvest the fruit early and let it ripen on a shelf on the porch.

This is a good reason to prune all lower leaves of the tomato plants to allow for good ventilation through the foliage.
http://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL/expert/tomato-blight.html

http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/tomatoes.html


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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/21/2012, 8:38 am

Do what camp suggests .......but if they are willing, let the tomato grow.

The PNW is so wet and (for the last two years) cold in spring that I get leaves that look like your pictured leaves every spring on some heirlooms. I panicked when I first saw it. As summer continued the problem went away and I got tomatoes. These days I call that "water spots" BUT I still try to keep everything clean.

BTW did you buy that plant or grow it from seed? I ask because I do not panic about home grown plants.

Debs.....hoping the best for your soups, sauce and salads.
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  1airdoc on 5/21/2012, 10:19 am

This is appearing on plants I purchased. I planted a few others from seed; they are much smaller at this point, but appear to be unaffected. Not all the plants I purchased are affected.
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  1airdoc on 5/21/2012, 10:25 am

Incidentally, early on I watered the tomatoes from above, but after a few weeks I only watered from the ground (using a soaker wand) or by using a soaker hose that is in place in the bed, and I mulched with straw to minimize splashing.
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  Squat_Johnson on 5/21/2012, 11:45 am

I have some level of blight every year. Tomatoes will usually produce _some_ tomatoes even though they are sick.

Here are some practices to keep it from taking over your garden...

Keep plants trimmed at the bottom. After your plants bloom, prune leaves below the first blossom. I always trim anything that touches ground.

I spray the plants and the ground with Neem Oil. This is an organic antifungal.

Water underneath, if possible. Soaker hoses are good.
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  camprn on 5/21/2012, 11:51 am

Incidentally this is a similar disease to Late Blight that caused The Great Hunger, Ireland's potato famine.


Last edited by camprn on 5/21/2012, 12:10 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correction of factual errors)

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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  acara on 5/21/2012, 11:55 am

Just keep trimming & follow the advice given above.

Blight generally wont shut you down (although the stem discoloration in your pics worries me more than the leaves), but if you don't clean your tools between plants, you'll run the chance of spreading it around yr garden.

As metioned above ... bag it & trash it, burn it, etc



I honestly can't remember the last time I grew a "blight free" crop of Tom's ...so don't lose hope Very Happy
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  1airdoc on 5/21/2012, 1:42 pm

I'll follow the advice about trimming up my leaves. It seems to me that the square foot method helps create an ideal environment for this disease, since the plants are all so close together. I've also read that sulfur spray or dust may help keep the disease from spreading, so I think I may try that, as well. The unaffected parts of the plants and the uninfected plants seem very robust, so I'm hoping they'll continue to do well.
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  cheyannarach on 5/21/2012, 4:20 pm

Are you growing determinate or indeterminates? And what is your spacing with them?
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  Triciasgarden on 5/21/2012, 7:43 pm

I am not an expert but have read a lot this year about tomatoes. It is important that you have good air circulation. If you have indeterminate tomatoes you should pinch off any growing stems in between the main stem and a side shoot (in the crotch).

From those pictures I think I had the blight on pepper plants (can't remember if it was early or late). I should have done more research then. This has been some great advice from all of you!
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  camprn on 5/21/2012, 7:48 pm

I typically prune mine, quite vigorously pale Very Happy

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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  1airdoc on 5/21/2012, 8:26 pm

My tomatoes are indeterminate. I am growing them 1/square, and pruning them to a single vine per plant (on one one side of the bed) or to two vines per plant (on the other side of the bed). The difference was intended to see if 1 vine vs 2 vines made any difference in production or quality of fruit. I am using a string trellis that is 6 feet tall. Here's a photo from this afternoon, after I trimmed up the bottom leavds :
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  cheyannarach on 5/21/2012, 8:45 pm

Wow that picture make them look quite impressive. I would dig in there are remove all the suckers like Tricia said, it would help quite a bit with air circulation! Good luck!
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  camprn on 5/21/2012, 8:46 pm

Lookin' good Doc! Here is what mine looked like last year during the blight fight.

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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  Triciasgarden on 5/23/2012, 1:16 am

Your tomato plants are beautiful 1airdoc! Campryn I like the look of all the air circulation you got with your tomatoes last year. They look so healthy and prolific! Thank you all for showing your photos, it always inspires me!
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  1airdoc on 5/25/2012, 8:31 pm

I followed the advice and cut back the bottom leaves from all the plants up to about 8in or so, carefully rinsing the scissors in bleach water after each cut and disposing of the leaves far, far away from the garden and the compost pile. In the four days since, I have seen minimal (almost no) progress of the blight onto other leaves. I'll keep my fingers crossed!
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Re: Help identify a tomato disease?

Post  camprn on 5/25/2012, 9:17 pm

Good luck Doc, my fingers are crossed for you too! Very Happy

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