How To Prevent Tomato Blight and Disease

Posted by N. Astrid Hoffman on

Tomato Troubles? Unveiling the Secrets to Banishing Blight and Disease

Tomato blight is a despair for gardeners in many regions where moisture and humidity are common during the summer months.  It is a fungal disease that can cause enough significant damage to tomato plants, that it can kill tomato plants.

There are two main types of tomato blight: early blight and late blight.

Early blight is characterized by brown spots on the leaves of tomato plants. These spots can eventually merge to form large, dead areas on the leaves. Early blight can also cause the stems and fruits of tomato plants to rot.

Late blight is a more serious disease that can quickly kill tomato plants. It is characterized by dark, water-soaked spots on the leaves of tomato plants. These spots can eventually spread to the stems and fruits, causing them to rot.

The good news is there are a number of things you can do to prevent tomato blight and disease:

  • Keep plants trimmed : Disease can spread when leaves or fruit are touching the earth and transmitting moisture from the morning dew.  Cut all leaves and fruit that touch the ground. Cut off any leaves that are discolored.
  • Clean & disinfect tools:  Disease can easily spread from one plant to another by using contaminated shears.  Keep your tools clean, disinfected and dry before using them on each plant.  Properly cleaning and disinfecting tools and containers can reduce the spread of plant diseases.  We have a spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol that we spray after cleaning our shears.
  • Rotate crops. Do not plant tomatoes in the same spot in the garden year after year. This will help to reduce the buildup of fungal spores in the soil and soil-borne diseases. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and the soil needs to rest and be amended before it is replanted.
  • Water at the base:  Do not water tomato plants from above.  Watering tomato plants at the base will help to keep the leaves dry, which will help to prevent the spread of blight.
  • Mulch around the plants. Mulching around tomato plants will help to keep the soil moist and cool, which will help to discourage the growth of fungal spores.  Mulching also prevents weeds.
  • Inspect the plants regularly. Inspect your tomato plants regularly for signs of blight. If you see any infected leaves, remove them immediately and destroy them.  We place them in garbage bags and remove them from the farm.
  • Airflow - Good air circulation is key.  Do not crowd your tomato plants, give them more space then necessary so they are not brushing up against each other. 

Start with a good seed source be aware of the origin of your plants.  A lot of blight originates in hot houses where thousands of plants are grown together.   Keep good garden records or what has works and what has not.  Talking to neighbors is also helpful.

The above practices are not only great to prevent blight and disease but overall excellent gardening practices to keep in mind.

Enjoy the process and share the harvest!  

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