Tobacco mosaic virus

Asked December 10, 2019, 2:30 PM EST

How widespread and serious is tobacco mosaic virus in Minnesota / OR is it minor or limited in scope across the state due to climate or geography ? I hope to plant some ornamental tobaccos because I feel I have the absolute perfect location and purpose. However, am I inviting trouble by bringing any variety of tobacco to my land ? The planting would be from a guaranteed seed source and located 300ft from any vegetable garden or fruit trees.

Wadena County Minnesota

2 Responses

I assume you are planning to grow “real” tobacco and not the ornamental annual Nicotiana that can be purchased at a garden center.

Whether Tobacco Mosaic Virus is “widespread” in Minnesota is a matter of opinion, but it is not uncommon. It can be a problem in some 300+ plant varieties. Here is a U of M reference on TMV as it affects tomatoes.

https://extension.umn.edu/diseases/tomato-mosaic-virus-and-tobacco-mosaic-virus

From what I have been able to find out the virus is not spread by insects, but rather by careless sanitation around plants that have been infected with MTV. This article from Penn State that outlines some sanitation guidelines: https://extension.psu.edu/tobacco-mosaic-virus-tmv .

In your situation you should be careful to sanitize the tools you use in the vegetable garden and in your tobacco area. If you should get some TMV in your tobacco field destroy those plants and get them off your property. Do not turn them under because the virus can survive in the ground for years.

Also be aware there are weeds that are susceptible to the virus. The more common ones are black nightshade, plantain, chickweed, jimsonweed, henbit, horse nettle, knotweed, lambs quarters, pigweed, pokeweed, purslane, and smartweed, so pay attention to weeds in your tobacco area.

Thank you for your response to my question and for the time you give to the master gardener program.

Any answers I get to the tobacco mosaic virus question make it sound very debilitating to a property yet quite feasible to avoid with proper care and awareness. Therefore, I will probably proceed to grow the ornamental N.sylvestris for its night blooming aroma and deer resistance while staying very alert.