Identifying and Treating Tomato Plant Diseases

Tomato Plant Diseases

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    Learn How to Protect Your Tomato Crop From Diseases

    While it is possible to produce a large harvest of delicious tomatoes, it is also likely that at least some of your plants are victims of one or another of the diseases that plague these popular plants. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent and treat most of these problems.

    Tomato Diseases to Treat

    Several types of diseases can affect tomatoes. If you keep an eye on the health of the leaves, the watering status, and the growth patterns of your plants, it is very likely that you can catch the disease soon to cure or eradicate it.

    • Blight: Two fungal diseases are known as late blight: Alternaria solani or late blight and Phytophthora infestans or late blight. Black spot starts early in the season and creates ring-shaped spots on the leaves, usually on the bottom of the plant first. Rust causes uneven spots on leaves and fruits. Controlling the environment to avoid excessive heat, humidity, and build-up helps inhibit fungal growth. Remove affected leaves and adjust care as needed.
    • Leaf Spots: You will notice spots in the center of the leaves, a black or gray spot with a light center. Once the spots have settled, the leaf turns yellow, then brown, and dries out. Leaf spots are caused by a fungus, stimulated by excess heat and humidity, so removing affected leaves and adjusting the environment can help prevent further spread.
    • Bacterial Infection: Exposed to the plant through cutting or damage to the vine or plant, bacterial diseases can wreak havoc on your tomato plants. If your plants suffer from a bacterial infection, you will notice spots and blemishes. To treat the problem, remove the infected areas as soon as you see them.
    • Mosaic Viruses: Since tomatoes come from the same plant family as tobacco (belladonna), tobacco users can transmit a mosaic virus to their tomatoes just by touching them. While mosaic viruses don't kill your plant, they weaken and reduce its yield, which is almost as bad. A mottled mosaic virus can be identified on leaves or fruits, with raised spots almost like bubbles. Do not stop smoking near your garden and wash your hands or wear gloves before caring for tomatoes if you are a smoker.
    • Verticulum Wilt: Stealthy and devastating, the withered tomato starts out with sad, wilted leaves in the heat of the day that comes to life later, but then progresses to complete wilting and plant loss. It is caused by fungi that contaminate the root of the plant and block water and nutrients. There is no way to treat it, so when a plant dies from wilting the verticle, remove it completely and destroy it.

    Tomato Plant Diseases

    Preventing Tomato Disease

    There is no better way to protect the health of your plant than to prevent diseases before they occur. When we take the time to plant carefully and take proper care of it early on, we can, in most cases, avoid the headache of disease in the first place.

    There are dozens of tomato varieties available today, and new hybrids are introduced each year. Many of them develop resistance to certain tomato diseases.

    Whether you're shopping for plants or starting your own with seeds when it's time to put them in the garden, choose the strongest and healthiest plants available.

    To prevent fungal diseases in tomatoes, give them plenty of room to grow. Grouping your plants will trap heat and moisture in the leaves and vines and this can cause problems.

    Watering the roots of the plants with a dip hose will keep the water in the soil, rather than sticking to the upper leaves. Overhead irrigation can also cause bacteria in the soil to splash onto the vines. Keep them off the floor where they feel damp and create disease.

    Your tomato plants will benefit from suction in the early stages of growth. This is the process of attaching the new bolts starting at the "V" where two older bolts meet.

    Strains generally grow prolifically and reducing the number of growing strains will strengthen the entire plant and promote good fruiting. It is important not to remove the buds that appear just below a flower. In this way, the plant could "finish" and stop growing.

    Tomato Plant Diseases

    There can be as many stake systems as tomato growers. A good support system is essential for a good tomato harvest. The separation of the main varieties of the plant provides good air circulation to the entire plant.

    Take care when driving screws into posts, fences, and other types of support. Soft materials work best as ties and the side of the knot should always be against the support, not the vine itself. This will prevent accidental damage to the plant, which can allow bacteria to enter.

    Finally, when you are planting, start with a good base. Test the soil to make sure it is healthy and at a good pH level. Organic soil corrections can occur in the fall and winter to prepare it for spring planting.

    Fertilizers can be added to the soil in the planting hole while placing the tomatoes. There are formulas made specifically for tomatoes and they can work to establish a strong root system. Always read the labels to verify the correct amount and application. Keep the base of your plant free of weeds with careful weeding or mulching.

    With the soil ready, choose disease-resistant plants: the acronym "VFNT" on a tomato seed or on a plant's label indicates its resistance to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, nematodes, and mosaic virus.

    Dig a hole deep enough for each plant and remove the seed leaves and bottom leaves before placing the bottom third of the plant in the hole. Avoid planting tomatoes where another belladonna, potato, eggplant, and bell pepper plants were grown the year before.

    The marigold of the pet plant will attract insects away from your tomatoes.

    An ounce of prevention is worth, in this case, kilos of fungicides and rotten tomatoes! Get an early start in the season and then you'll buy plenty of delicious organic tomatoes.

    Enjoy This Video Tutorial to stop worrying about tomato diseases!

    Source: Gary Pilarchik (The Rusted Garden)

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    Tomato Plant Diseases

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