Late Blight in PA, MD & LA

This just in from my Master Gardening professsor:

Reprinted from UMass Veg Notes:

Late Blight (Phytophthora infestans) Confirmed in LA, MD, and Northwestern PA

Isolated outbreaks of late blight have been confirmed in Louisiana, Maryland, and Northwestern Pennsylvania.  The original source of inoculum has not yet been identified.  Given the season last year, chances are good that P. infestans inoculum may have overwintered in infected potato tubers.  The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has been screening tomato transplants destined for the retail and wholesale markets and so far those samples have been negative. Several other suspect samples have been submitted to their Plant Disease Clinic and those have also been negative.  We have had no confirmed cases of late blight in MA this year.  The largely dry weather pattern over much of the state is not conducive to the spread of the organism that causes this disease, but it is critical to scout not only this year’s tomato and potato crops but also last year’s potato fields where infected tubers may have survived the winter and are sprouting infected volunteer plants.  Early identification and eradication of inoculum sources will help to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak later in the season if the weather favors disease development (rainy, cool, cloudy) for an extended period of time.

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I have not heard of any confirmed cases of late blight in Maine this year, but this is a good warning for us all to keep our eyes open.

If you think you may have late blight in your crops or on volunteer potato plants in old fields, please contact your county UMaine Cooperative Extension office (622-7546 or 1-800-287-1481 (toll-free, in-state) for Kennebec) or the UMaine Plant Diagnostic Lab at (207) 581-3880 or 1-800-287-0279 (in Maine).

Please, not this year!


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9 Responses to “Late Blight in PA, MD & LA”

  1. nruit Says:

    Thanks for the update. We almost always have potato and tomato volunteers.

    • Ali Says:

      Time to get ride of the volunteers right quick, and tell everyone you know NOT to buy tomato plants from out of state!

  2. Thomas Says:

    Hopefully it won’t be as bad as last year. We’ve had such a beautiful spring. It would be a same if our summer fell short.

  3. Teresa Says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve been eradicating volunteers just in case, but I’ve started with fresh seed potatoes and grew my own tomato starts–with luck I’ll be safe.

  4. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife Says:

    Yeah, I just got wind of this most unwelcome news via email. I’m hoping that these will remain isolated outbreaks, and that the weather will conspire to give us just enough rain, and nothing like last June. And yes, I’m relieved that the outbreak in PA was as far from me as possible, and on the other side of the Appalachian range.

    I don’t think I could hack a second year of late blight losses. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed.

    • Ali Says:

      Good luck, Kate. Here in Maine it has been a very dry spring thus far, so who knows what will happen.

  5. GrafixMuse Says:

    Oh no! I hope these are isolated incidences and do not spread.

  6. mangochild Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Its important to be on the lookout…. I hope hope hope that this doesn’t happen in this area (CT)…. but I feel so badly for the farmers in PA, LA, and MD….

  7. Robin Says:

    That would be frustrating. Hopefully you won’t get it.

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