tomato blight

Asked February 29, 2016, 11:41 AM EST

What can I do to control blight on my tomatoes? I know I should be planting them in different places every couple of years, but I have very small yard space and only this one area that gets sufficient sun. Soil additives, sprays, blight resistant varieties, any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Lycoming County Pennsylvania

1 Response

There are two kinds of tomato blight. Early blight is caused by a fungus, and I'm going to refer you to an answer by our horticulture director, Nancy Knauss. The other disease is late blight. It is caused by a type of water mold, and it rots the fruit and vine. Here is a link to a Cornell University fact sheet on managing late blight. The key to managing blight is to remove every bit of diseased tissue and burn it. The pathogens overwinter in the plant debris and send out spores first thing in spring. Keep the soil mulched so rain won't splash pathogens on the leaves. Remove the lower leaves as soon as possible, and water only by drip irrigation. Late blight needs a wet leaf to infect the plant. If you are using chemical sprays, you have to stick to the spraying schedule to keep the plant protected. You can actually buy varieties that will grow well in pots on the patio. You might contact the dwarf tomato project to find some good varieties that grow in pots. That way you can completely change the soil every year. Tomatoes need full sun, dry leaves, good air circulation, enough water, and mulch on the soil.