tomato wilts

Asked August 9, 2015, 10:25 AM EDT

Does Verticillium and Fusarium fungi get into the wood that is used for the container of tomato plants. I know it is soil born, but wondering if disease is absorbed into the container wood? Have a set up where built a wooden container area using wooden planks- 4 ft wide, 8ft long, 1 ft high open on bottom. If clean out, wash down and move wooden plank container to different area would that help prevent disease. There is disease in plants this year, so need to move container for next year.

Rice County Minnesota

1 Response

It's unlikely that these soil born pathogens will persist in the wood, but cleaning well should help. Here is a link to a UC Davis article that suggests a way of "sterilizing" soil and containers. Although California gets more, and hotter sun (most of the time) than we do, it's a method you might be interested in:

There is some research that indicates some wood mulches mixed into a planting medium (like a soil-less mixture) suppresses fusarium wilt, so I imagine that a wooden container, or raised bed with wooden sides could be beneficial.

The first step however, in controlling these diseases is to pick resistant plants in the first place. The plant tag should have a "F", or a "V" on it that indicates resistance.

Do not use bleach when cleaning this wood. New soil, or planting medium, new location, proper staking and thinning to increase air circulation, resistant plants and proper watering and mulching should do the trick.

These pathogens persist in the soil for many years (more than 4). Make sure that you do not plant any solanaceous crops in the abandoned
location for quite a while. In addition, there are many weeds that vector these
pathogens, so make sure you do a good job of weeding throughout the season.

And lastly, do not compost any of the diseased plant materials. They should be burned, or sent to a landfill.

I hope this is helpful. Please contact AaE aagain if you have further questions.