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In this, the first of two Growing Wisdom videos on late blight, Dave finds out from Susie Anderson how to identify the disease ...
on tomatoes. In part 2 you'll learn how to treat the disease.
Tags:how to identify the disease on tomatoes,Dave Epstein,gardening tips,growing wisdom,How to Identify Late Blight on Tomatoes,Identifying Late Blight on Tomatoes
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David Epstein: Hi. I am Dave Epstein, this is Growing Wisdom and I know many of you grow tomatoes and tomatoes have a lot of different diseases. Today, we’re at Johnny’s Selected Seeds. We’re going to tale with Susie Anderson about late blight and that is a disease that a lot of you might have heard about and we’re going to talk about—first of all what it is, how you can protect your tomatoes against it and if you get it, what do you do.
Part 1: How to Identify late Blight
David Epstein: Susie, good to see you again, always a pleasure. Always a pleasure so I know late blights gotten a lot of press lately. Tell me about it.
Susie Anderson: It’s a water mold. It’s commonly called the fungus but it actually, truly is a water mold. So it needs water to actually sporulate.
To ‘sporulate’ is to release spores into the environment.
Susie Anderson: And it is a disease here in the North East that we don’t see very commonly. It can be devastating to a home owner if they get late blight in their tomatoes and don’t manage it properly.
David Epstein: And it needs a lot of water. So in wet years, it can be more of a problem than in the dry year.
Susie Anderson: Exactly. They do not like dry climates at all. You do not see this commonly where the weather is really dry.
David Epstein: What is it look like? If I am a home owner, I just see my leaves browning. Is that what it is?
Susie Anderson: Well that is the start. What you want to do is asses your plants on a daily basis if you can. What you want to look for are either brown spots on the plant. Usually late blight shows up first on a growing point and you’ll see the growing point flag and it will be brown in the new growth and you will see white fuzzy area of the advancement of the disease and that is very indicative of late blight.
David Epstein: So you said it’s a mold?
Susie Anderson: It is a water mold.
David Epstein: So water mold. So it has that moldy look like something that was in your refrigerator too long.
Susie Anderson: Exactly.
David Epstein: You know that is getting the fuzz.
Susie Anderson: It does and it will look water soaked like this. This is where the lesion first started where it’s dry and here where it is wet looking is where they mycelium are advancing and the white fuzzy portion or as I call it the velvet Elvis is where it actually is sporulating. So the spores are coming up to the surface and the wind is carrying them off to other plants.
The fruit that is infected with late blight actually is very distinct. Most disease that infects fruit is squishy and late blight that infects a fruit, it will look rotten but it’s hard as a rock.
David Epstein: Susie, thank you very much. A lot of information there about late blight; one of the many diseases that can affect tomatoes but knowledge is power and we hope that this has helped you here at Growing Wisdom.