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Tomato Blight Control Cracks in Tomatoes Tomato Spray for Blight Control

From Cornell Cooperative Extension

1. Use crop rotations of at least 3 years to non-hosts (away from tomato, potato and eggplant).
2. Provide optimum growing conditions and fertility. Stressed plants (including drought) are more susceptible to early blight.
3. Stake or cage plants to keep fruit and foliage away from soil.
4. Drip irrigation is preferred, or overhead irrigation starting before dawn, so that the plants are dry early in the day. The key is to keep the period of leaf wetness to a minimum.
5. Mulching helps to prevent splashing of spores from soil up to lower leaves.
6. Indeterminate tomato and late-maturing potato varieties are usually more resistant/tolerant to early blight.
7. Early blight can be seed-borne, so buy from a reliable supplier. Hot water seed treatment at 122°F for 25 minutes is recommended to control early blight on tomato seed. See chlorine treatment procedures under bacterial diseases.
8. Disinfect stakes or cages with an approved product each season before using. Sodium hypochlorite at 0.5% (12x dilution of household bleach) is effective, and must be followed by rinsing, and proper disposal of solution. Hydrogen peroxide is also permitted.

Materials Approved for Organic Production:

1. Copper products showed one good and one poor result in recent studies. However, copper builds up in the soil and in concentrations is very toxic. Copper should be avoided.
2. A Trichoderma harzanium product, PlantShield HC®, used as a drench at planting, showed fair to good results in NYS on tomatoes over three seasons.

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Now that your tomatoes are ripening, you may have noticed cracking or splitting at the top of your tomatoes.

Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to repair the cracks after the fact, but there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid occurrences in the future — and it starts with understanding the cause of the problem.

Jessica Hyatt, Extension Agent of Horticulture at North Carolina State University, recently described three main causes for cracked or split tomatoes and also what you can do to prevent problems:

• CAUSE: Watering fluctuations. Letting tomatoes dry out and then giving them large amounts of water to make up for it can cause cracking.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURE: Try to have as regular a watering schedule as possible.

• CAUSE: Temperature fluctuations. Day and night temps that differ greatly can cause cracking on your tomatoes; also removing leaves that are shading tomatoes too early can raise the fruit’s temperature, causing cracking.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURE: Take special care when removing leaves so that you are not exposing developing fruit to too much sun.

• CAUSE: Fast growth. Tomatoes growing too fast causes them to literally bust out of their skins.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURE: Avoid using high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer while the plants are producing fruit as it can cause too much growth, too fast. Use fertilizer low in nitrogen during this critical time.

This information was provided through the Wayne County Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic in Goldsboro, NC.

Make Tomato Blight A Memory!

Mix together 3 cups of compost, 1/2 cup powdered dry nonfat milk, 1/2 cup Epsom salts and 1 Tbs baking soda in a bucket. When planting your tomatoes in your garden this Spring sprinkle a Tbs of this mix in the hole when transplanting.

From Denise Murphy
/2009/01/20 /how-to-get-rid-of-tomato-blight.html


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