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Early blight potato disease

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Early blightEarly blight potato disease is causes by  Alternaria solani fungal pathogen. Alternaria solani is generally thought to be a weak parasite.
Early blight is often a disease of senescence, where the older leaves are infected first. The disease can progress upward; attacking newer tissue as the older leaves droop and dry up. Under severe epidemics, leaves may be killed prematurely.
The disease first becomes evident in senescent leaves, in form of dark necrotic lesions in a characteristic concentric pattern. Contamination of the tubers is manifested by dry, dark, round depressions on the peel.
If cases of severe infestation it is possible loss of yield, due to early leaf death. Dry rot develops also on the tubers during storage.
Most of the early varieties are susceptible.

Management and control of early blight potato disease


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Use seed potatoes free of the disease. Seeds infected with the disease may damp off during germination.
Minimize stress by maintaining adequate soil moisture and fertility.      Avoid watering during the hottest hours and immediately after storms.
Early blight can be prevented with some fungicides: azoxystrobin, potassium bicarbonate, hydrogen dioxide as well as the biological control agent Bacillus subtilis
Avoid harvesting non-mature tubers. Protect against insect infestations.

Preventative measures include ensuring the healthy circulation of air in garden rows and rotating crops so that solanaceous plants are only present every three years, and choosing resistant cultivars.

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