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Tomatoes decimated! Help with Diagnosis?

Posted by Brian_Knight Plant 6b Building Zo (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 13:43

This problem has gotten worse over the years and I suspect a soil borne virus? The potted plant is doing better than last years but still seems to be getting infected.

 photo 20140811_111609.jpg

Yellow Pear and Cherry in ground. After great vegetative growth they lose their bottom leaves up, very quickly after starting to fruit.

 photo SmartPotTom.jpg

This one in a 4ish-1-1 mix in 20 gallon smartpot was labeled black cherry but it seems like its crossed with a striped variety. Its been doing better than the ones in the ground but seems to be getting infected too.

 photo 20140811_111526.jpg

Overdue for a soil test in the garden and would like to implement things now to improve for next year. Plenty of OM and suspect it might be too much. Any good ideas and/or related threads is much appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Tomatoes decimated! Help with Diagnosis?

Looks like late blight to me... but I am not an expert..

RE: Tomatoes decimated! Help with Diagnosis?

There are quite a few articles out there. DH had this on his tomatoes a few years ago and was instructed by the county agent to clean his tomato stakes with a chlorine solution before using them the following year, even though we have winter freezes.

Here's the Google listing: blight petunias

If this is what you have, someone in your area has infected your crops, and you will do the same to everyone in your area unless you clear it. It is a very serious communicable spore disease which caused the potato famine in Ireland years ago.

This strain comes from Mexico, and is resistant to the usual fungicides used to fight it. It has been ruining potato crops in the US. It spread to many small gardens from infected petunias sold by a big box store a few years ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: NYS

RE: Tomatoes decimated! Help with Diagnosis?

Yikes! Interestingly enough the worst of the problems coincide with me doing petunias in containers..

RE: Tomatoes decimated! Help with Diagnosis?

Late blight doesn't work from the bottom up, but early blight does and septoria leaf spot hits so quick you don't see it coming. Lots of rain and you get this, sad to say. A few new varieties have early blight resistance (that's what's on your black cherry; see bulls-eye lesions on newly infected leaves with a mag glass). In my experience Yellow Pear is susceptible to everything. Septoria will hit anything.

RE: Tomatoes decimated! Help with Diagnosis?

  • Posted by cme1 none (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 21:28

Ugh, I just lost all my tomatoes to blight too. Terrible garden went from glorious to disaster in 48 hours :(

RE: Tomatoes decimated! Help with Diagnosis?


I grow tomatoes from seed. Usually heirlooms with no
resistance to early blight. This year I have Reif's red heart from Sandhill Preservation in Iowa. Mighty tasty variety.

I agree with your statement on blight. Usually I prune off the lower branches when young as septora leaf spot seems to start on the lower branches and works its way up. I find that pruning my heirloom tomatoes up at the base (2' from ground level) allows good air flow and sunlight at the bottom of the plants.

This seems to reduce my chances of blight as I successfully get crops every year without spraying
chlorothalonil for blight control. My neighbors all get blight
every year but so far I am successful.

I have a bit of septoria this year (wet, cool growing season).
Not bad. My neighbor's modern tomatoes have early blight like crazy. He never prunes the lower branches.

Just an FYI to all that pruning up the lower branches in youth seems to really reduce some disease issues I see
on tomatoes in my area.

For those that want to spray, chlorothalonil does work well.
My sister lives in a commercial potato growing area so
lots of early blight around. She cannot keep a tomato plant alive without spraying.

I prefer no spray if possible and lucky so far.

RE: Tomatoes decimated! Help with Diagnosis?

I agree on the basal pruning, which I think helps set back early blight. I trimmed up my late tomatoes yesterday.

We had three badly-timed rainy intervals this year that gave the early and main crop tomatoes a hard time, but I've been pleased with 'Ruth's Perfect' from Turtle Tree (OP, biodynamic). The plants next to these melted down completely with early blight and septoria, but 'Ruth's Perfect' is still carrying on. Also blight resistant 'Plum Regal'(f1) made a huge crop even though it got hit pretty bad with septoria. Today I'll finish taking out the old tomatoes and cover crop with mustard.

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