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Disease control on Tomato Plants

Thursday, June 10th, 2010
A scanned red tomato, along with leaves and fl...

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No vegetable garden is complete without a few tomatoes. Who can resist a large, juicy Better Boy or a handful of cherry tomatoes? Like any plant, the tomato is susceptible to various ailment. The smart gardener will be prepared to combat ordinary predicaments, so as to insure a healthy harvest.

Ordinary predicaments with Tomatoes

There are certain ailment that affect tomato plants, and many are easily controlled. Sometimes, however, infected plants must be removed to protect the rest of the garden. Poor weather and soil states frequently determine which kinds of disease will attack tomatoes. ordinary predicaments to watch for include blossom end rot, timely and late blight, and specific kinds of soil fungus.

Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot is a most irritating predicament, and is easy to notice. Fruits look normal on the top, but will have large, black spots on the blossom end. This is cautilized by a calcium deficiency in the plant. Blossom end rot can be combated by adequate soil preparation before planting. The soil pH should be maintained at 6.5; compost and bone meal can be added to the bed to supply calcium. Once the predicament has already occurred, control is complex. Calcium can be added in the form of Epsom salts, crushed egg shells, or powdered milk. It may be best to remove the infected fruits.

Fusarium and Verticillim Wilt

Fusarium wilt is cautilized by a fungus in the soil. Leaves begin to yellow at the bottom of the plant, and they eventually turn brown and wilt. Plants will die if the fungus is not controlled, and any plants that show symptoms must be removed and ruined. No chemical control is offered for this fungus, and care must be taken when replanting in infected soil. Try buying fusarium wilt- resistant plants, which will have an “F” after the name of the plant on the seed packet.

Verticillim wilt is as well cautilized by a fungus that originates in the soil. The fungus can live in the soil for many years, so crop rotation is a good thought. Symptoms include leaves that turn yellow and dry up. This disease is most ordinary during cool weather. Affected plants should be removed.

Tomato Blight

Tomato blight is a ordinary annoyance for avid tomato growers. timely blight affects the foliage, stems, and fruit of tomatoes. Symptoms include dark spots on leaves; infected leaves as well die prematurely. Copper and sulfur sprays can keep this fungus from growing, but sometimes the plant will need to be removed if it is too far gone. This prevents further contamination in the garden. Late blight affects the leaves and fruit of tomatoes and stretchs rapidly. Cool, wet weather is generally the cautilize of late blight. Symptoms include gray spots all over leaves and white mold. utilize copper spray to control late blight.

Prevention is the Key

As with any garden ailment, prevention is key. Once these predicaments have developed, they are complex to control. Tomato growers should prepare beds thoroughly before planting, spray tomato plants timely with fungicide control, feed plants regularly, and try not to overwater or let plants dry out. Every home garden can boast of a bountiful tomato harvest if plants are well cared-for.

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How to recognize plant disease

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Powdery mildew, a Biotrophic Fungus

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While the gardener hopes for disease-free plants, multitudes of organisms are ever present and merely biding their time for the appearance of the right conditions and host.

Damping-Off

Damping-off is likely the most discouraging problem for the gardener. Although it can occur any time during the growing season it generally attacks seedlings just when they seem to be getting off to a good start.

Damping-off is caused by fungi living right at the soil line where air meets the moist soil’s surface. If soil is kept continually damp the fungi attack the seedlings causing constricted stems at or immediately below the soil’s surface. The young plants fall over at the soil line and die.

Prevention is the only remedy. Allow the soil surface to dry out between waterings. If soil remains moist for a long period of time sprinkle the area around the seedlings with ground cinnamon. Cinnamon is a natural fungicide. The gardener may also make use of another natural fungicide, chamomile. Brew weak chamomile tea, let it cool and use around seedlings.

Mosaic Virus

Mosaic virus robs plants of their genetic organization, diverting energy to themselves. This virus primarily attacks summer and winter squash, gourds, cucumbers, watermelons and pumpkins although it also affects beans, peppers and tomatoes.

The virus causes abnormality in plant growth. Leaves look mottled or distorted and crinkled. They twist up or show bubbles. Often the affected plant will have leaves with yellowish spots on them. The fruit of affected cucumbers can have a variation of mottled light and dark green areas, sometimes paling almost white. Other fruit in the curcurbit family can be blanketed with warts or have skin that is faded, white and smooth. Although this virus may not kill the plant the fruit will taste so bitter that it will be inedible.

Mosaic virus overwinters in garden debris and a number of weed plants. Be sure the garden is scrupulously cleared out after the growing season and reduce or eliminate weed growth near food plants. Aphids and cucumber beetles also spread the virus when they feed from plant to plant. Eliminating these pests will go a long way toward preventing the virus from entering your garden.

Botrytis Blight

Botrytis blight or rot is a fungal disease that affects a number of vegetables and fruits. Among its host plants are asparagus, beans, beets, carrots, grapes, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, tomatoes and strawberries. The infection usually occurs when cool rainy or drizzling spring and summer weather lasts for several days. Botrytis rot can infect all parts of the plant except the roots. It appears as a mass of silver-gray spores on dead or dying plant tissue. Heavily infected plants release the spores as a dust that can be spread to other plants. The disease spreads most rapidly on wet or humid days and rain splatter also causes new infections.

As with other diseases, prevention is the best control. Inspect the plants often, watching for any infestation, blighted leaves or dead plants. Wait until the plants are dry before taking steps to sanitize them. Carry a paper bag with you when inspecting the plants. Remove infected plant material or the entire plant and place it in the bag to be thrown in the trash or burned.

Avoid overhead watering or misting which also provide favorable conditions for infection. Give plants plenty of space between them to promote good air circulation and allow the plants to dry out quickly, not giving botrytis the moist, humid conditions it needs in order to prosper.

Another fungal disease, powdery mildew, coats the leaves in dusty white or grey powder. Leaves are usually first attacked on the underside and then the mildew moves around to the top of the leaf, eventually covering the entire surface.

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) has proven to be extremely effective as an antifungal in treating active botrytis and powdery mildew. Add 1 ounce of baking soda to 1 gallon of water and spray the solution on the affected plant. Caught early, the disease can be halted and the plant saved.

Feeding all plants with finished compost or compost ‘tea’ foliar spray helps to strengthen their immune system, allowing the plants’ own defensive structures to ward off many debilitating diseases.

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