The scourge of the plant Phytophthora (Blight Fungus) has become the scourge of our gardens in recent decades. One wonders if it is worth growing tomatoes if so much effort has been wasted when first encountering it. However, the root Phytophthora (Blight Fungus), the plant Phytophthora (Blight Fungus), is not the worst thing that can happen to our gardens. With the knowledge of the disease, you can prevent it and save yourself from frustration and disappointment.
SIGNS OF TOMATO ROOT ROT PHYTOPHTHORA (BLIGHT FUNGUS)
Phytophthora (Blight Fungus) or tomato brown rot is a fungal disease caused by the proto-microscopic fungus Phytophthora infestans. It manifests as elongated dark brown spots or streaks on stems and petioles, gray-brown on leaves, and tan on fruits.
Starting at the lower leaf level, the root Phytophthora (Blight Fungus) gradually takes over the entire tomato plant. In dry weather, the affected areas wilt, while in wet weather, they rot.
On the fruit, regardless of maturity, plant Phytophthora (Blight Fungus) lesions have hard structures. Spreading over the entire surface, they affect the outer surface of the tomato and penetrate deep into the tomato tissue. They may also appear on tomatoes that have been picked and left to ripen. Phytophthora-infected stems, flowers, and sepals will turn black and dry out.
WHAT CONTRIBUTES TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHYTOPHTHORA (BLIGHT FUNGUS)?
Root Phytophthora (Blight Fungus) spreads over a fairly wide area, divided into three zones: strong, medium, and weak. However, even if the probability of spreading the disease in your area is low – you need to know what Phytophthora (Blight Fungus) is because, in addition to tomatoes, it also affects eggplants, peppers, and potatoes. Sometimes can even found it on strawberries. The damage caused by the pest is often as high as 70% yield loss.
The favorable period for Phytophthora infestans is the second half of summer, characterized by a large diurnal temperature difference and increased humidity in the evenings and mornings. However, the disease may also be induced by negligible excess nitrogen applied to the crop during fertilization, poor bed aeration, overgrowth, and the presence of diseased plants in adjacent crops. Therefore, it is best not to wait for the fungus to develop but to take care in advance to protect your tomatoes from it.
PROPHYLACTIC MEASURES AGAINST PHYTOPHTHORA (BLIGHT FUNGUS)
- The simplest preventive measure recommended in most of the literature against Phytophthora is to select varieties that are resistant to the disease. But no tomato variety or hybrid is entirely resistant to Phytophthora, no matter what the manufacturer says on the seed package. Some agronomists consider the following varieties to be relatively resistant: “Glory of Moldova,” “Gribovsky 1180”, “Cinderella,” and some others.
- It is possible to grow tomatoes with a short vegetative period, characterized by fast and friendly yield, such as “Profitable,” “Radical,” “Debut Hybrid,” “Sanka.” They will form fruits in 80-90 days, so they practically avoid the fate of destruction by malignant fungi.
- Selection of high-growing varieties also helps prevent the plant Phytophthora (Blight Fungus). In addition, their cultivation techniques include removing the lower leaves, which means that their plants are more aired out and less susceptible to excessive moisture.
- The crop does well in a greenhouse, where it is easier to maintain a stable temperature and humidity. If you don’t have a greenhouse, you can cover your tomato plants with cling film when the cold nights arrive.
- As a preventive measure against Phytophthora (Blight Fungus), tomato seeds should be treated with a 1% manganese solution before sowing in the open ground or cups.
- If phytophthora is still “roaming” in the garden – special care should be taken when cleaning beds in autumn: plant remains should not just be collected, but buried in the ground or burned, and garden tools should be disinfected.
- As the danger period approaches, make sure tomato plants are free of weeds, water without getting water on the leaves, apply a fertilizer with a high potassium content, and spray with boric acid – 1 teaspoon per 2.6 gals (10 l) of water. Subsequently, spray twice more every two weeks until the fruit turns red.
- The use of growth regulators on tomatoes showed good results. Spraying with succinic acid-2.2-dimethylhydrazine (SADH) or (2-chloroethyl) trimethylammonium chloride (CCC) can be used to increase the yield of tomato plants, ripen the fruit more evenly, thus shortening the harvest period, strengthening the plants, and giving them strength against the fungus.
- The recommended precaution is to remove the lower leaves, as they tend to be “infected” with the disease.
- At the first symptoms of root Phytophthora (Blight Fungus), it is necessary to pull out the affected plants and remove them from the garden.
- If there is Phytophthora (Blight Fungus) in a neighboring plot, also the weather is favorable for its development. You need to pick the unripe fruits and put them to ripening, sterilizing them beforehand in hot water before they damage your crop. Should grow in the dark and temperature about 77 °F (25°C), disinfection it in water at 140 °F (60°C) for two minutes.
Some growers also use a garlic infusion as a precautionary measure-1.5 cups of crushed garlic, 1.5 grams of manganese, and about 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent per 2.6 gals (10 liters) of water. The first spray was made when the seedlings planted in the ground were well-rooted (about 10 to 14 days after planting) and repeated the second and subsequent sprays two weeks later at 150 g of solution per plant.
However, all this is only prevention of the disease, based on the fact that the plant Phytophthora (Blight Fungus) is a complex problem, and you should not stop at these measures, but must add to the more substantial control measures.