Tomato early blight treatment and control. What is early tomato blight? How to recognize the signs of this common tomato disease. A few of the best blight resistant tomato varieties.
Image from: Paul Bachi, University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, Bugwood.orgm
Tomato early blight is a tomato disease caused by the fungus Alternaria solani. It is one of the most common tomato growing problems that home gardeners face.
The cool, damp weather of springtime is what activates and spreads it.
The fungal spores usually splash up onto the lowest tomato plant leaves during rainy weather. Then it works its way up the plant, withering the leaves.
Blighted tomato leaf.
Image from: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org
Yellow leaves on tomato plants may indicate that the vines are infected. After turning yellow, infected leaves will wither and fall off.
Blight spreads so if you have a tomato planting consisting of a number or plants, they will all display tomato blight disease symptoms.
Fruit yields will be low and the tomatoes that are produced will be smaller than they should. The fruit may also suffer from sun scald because of the reduced number of leaves on the plants.
Signs of early tomato blight on the fruit.
Image from: Yuan-Min Shen, Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, Bugwood.org
Home grown tomatoes are the most popular garden vegetables in the United States.
This is why blight is such a problem here.
Most gardeners have limited space for growing tomato plants. Because of this, they end up planting tomatoes in the same spot year after year.
This causes the fungal spores to build up in the soil.
Here's what you can do to prevent this from happening in your garden:
Maneb,chlorothalonil and mancozeb fungicides all provide good control.
According to the Dept. of Plant Pathology at Cornell University the following tomato varieties are blight resistant.
All varieties are Solanum lycopersicum unless otherwise noted.
JTO-99197 F1: Determinate variety with large globe-shaped fruit. Resistant to early blight.
Aunt Ginny's Purple: Indeterminate, purple-black beefsteak tomato. Good resistance to early and late tomato blight.
Black Plum: Indeterminate, mahogany plum tomato showing high resistance to early and late tomato blight.
Brandywine Tomatoes: Indeterminate, pink, giant tomato which is moderately resistant to tomato blight toxins.
Yellow Currant, Solanum pimpinellifolium: Indeterminate half inch yellow cherry tomato. Blight tolerant.
Yellow Pear tomatoes: An open pollinated indeterminate tomato. Vigorous vines show excellent tomato early blight tolerance.