Late blight on Maine tomatoes and potatoes

From the UMaine Cooperative Extension Service:

Home Gardeners Late Blight Alert!
By Dr. James Dill, Pest Management Specialist, Pest Management Office, Orono, Maine, jdill@umext.maine.edu

Late blight, a highly destructive fungal disease, if left unmanaged, has recently been discovered on tomato plants throughout the state of Maine. University of Maine Cooperative Extension strongly encourages home gardeners to check tomato and potato plants for symptoms of late blight, especially those who may have recently planted tomato seedlings obtained from a big box store. Late blight was the plant disease that greatly contributed to the “Irish Potato Famine”in the mid-1800’s.

The long stretch of cool, cloudy and rainy weather this June has provided classic conditions for the spores of this fungus to disperse. The symptoms include irregular-shaped, water-soaked, yellow to gray spots surrounded by white mold on the top leaf surface and whitish mold on the underside, which eventually turn into blackened areas on the stems and leaves. These blackened areas dry up, wilt and die. The disease will also attack and destroy the tomato fruits. The threat exists of the late blight spreading to potatoes, therefore, if home gardeners find late blight on their plants they should pull, bag and throw out these plants. Do NOT compost them.

For pictures go to:
Potato Late Blight
Tomato Late Blight

Yet another good reason to start your own seedlings, or purchase them from local nurseries.

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3 Responses to “Late blight on Maine tomatoes and potatoes”

  1. Robin Says:

    I wish they’d name the big box so that people knew whether they should be looking especially close at their plants.

  2. Ali Says:

    I was at a Shaw’s yesterday and saw some very sad looking tomatoes. From what I’ve heard, though, it was a huge grower supplying to Wall*Mart, Home Depot and others.

  3. Kim Says:

    Thanks for posting, good info!

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