Tomato Early Blight
Signs & Solutions

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.



What is Early Tomato Blight?

Alternaria solani spore image from Paul Bachi.

Alternaria solani.

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.


Signs of Tomato Blight

Tomato early blight symptom image from Clemson University.

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 tomato early blight on the fruit. Bugwood.org

Signs of early tomato blight on the fruit.

Image from: Yuan-Min Shen, Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, Bugwood.org


Tomato Blight Treatment

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:

  • Practice crop rotation. Don't plant tomatoes in the exact same spot every year if you can help it. You may have to get creative to achieve this. Try growing tomatoes in pots one year to give the soil a break.
  • Another possible solution is growing tomatoes upside down, either in buckets or in a Topsy Turvy tomato planter.
  • Stake the plants up and keep the foliage off the ground.
  • Prune them. Pruning tomato plants thins the foliage for better air circulation. The leaves will dry more quickly after a rain and be less vulnerable.
  • Mulch the planting area to keep it from splashing onto the plants during watering or rainy weather.
  • Spray the tomato plants with a fungicide for tomato blight right after planting them and again every 10 days throughout the growing season.
  • Maneb,chlorothalonil and mancozeb fungicides all provide good control.


    Tomato Early Blight
    Resistant Varieties
    Cornell University

    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.

    Red Large Fruited Tomato

    JTO-99197 F1: Determinate variety with large globe-shaped fruit. Resistant to early blight.


    Heirloom Tomato Varieties
    Resistant to Tomato Early Blight

    "Tomato, Brandywine Pink Organic 1 Pkt. (30 seeds)"

    "Tomato, Brandywine Pink 3 Plants"

    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.


    Blight Resistant Yellow Tomatoes

    Tomato, Pear Yellow

    Cheapest Yellow Pear Tomato Seeds

    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.



    Tomato Plant Care Advice:

    Organic Tomato Fertilizer Recipes & Ready-made Products

    Preventing Blossom End Rot in Tomatoes

    Watering Tomatoes: Frequency and Techniques

    Go from Tomato Early Blight Solutions back to Tomato Blight

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