preventing tomato fungus

Asked January 21, 2018, 2:41 PM EST

I am planning this year’s garden and have a bunch of questions. Please read carefully and answer all. Setup: I have six 8ft by 4ft raised beds enclosed in a 8ft deer fence. We live next to open space that has river and trees. We love fresh tomatoes and plant four of the beds with two each; another with peppers, the last with herbs. I use drip irrigation with timer and rain sensor which comes on in early morning. Each year I try to fend off fungus alternating with biologics Serenade and Actinovate (predominately Serenade). The last several years I have gotten fungus. Last year I believe it was Septoria. Rotation isn’t much of an option as I use four of the beds for tomatoes. 1) Do these two biologics work o.k. together or do they fight one another? 2) Is there something else you would recommend over this? Mannon Gallegly, West Virginia University professor emeritus of plant pathology, has made it his mission to develop a disease-free tomato. He and his research partner Mahfuz Rahman, released two new varieties of tomato last summer. (One called Iron Lady—limited seed only as far as I can find) Gallegly said the stink bug, specifically the marmorated stink bug, is the likely cause of Septoria increasing on tomatoes. Each year I hang up two stink bug traps on two sides of my deer fence to try to keep them off the tomatoes. They do catch a number of stink bugs. 3) Is this self-defeating? I had been told the lure doesn’t attract from far distances away like the old Japanese beetle traps 4) Other thoughts? Thanks for your time and consideration.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

The biological controls you mentioned are fine to use. However, if disease pressure is significant, we recommend alternating their use and adding an organic fungicide (fixed copper) when you spray. Use early in the season, when symptoms appear to slow the spread of the disease. Follow label directions. See our website on septoria for more control information.

Iron Lady is released from Cornell. Two WV varieties 17A & B were released from WV. See the link to see if they have seeds.

We have no research that the Bmsb is the cause of an increase of septoria on tomatoes. Traps for the bmsb are essentially monitoring tools but are not effective for controlling them. Here is our website for more informaiton on prevention and control