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Posted 15 October 2009. PMN Crop News.

Take Steps Now to Help Prevent Late Blight Next Year

Source: Purdue University Press Release.

West Lafayette, Indiana (October 9, 2009)--Tomato and potato growers can take steps now and next spring to help prevent the reoccurrence of late blight in Indiana, said a Purdue University plant pathologist.


Late blight, a fast-moving and highly destructive disease of tomatoes and potatoes, was found in several Indiana counties this past growing season, said Dan Egel.

"We know it hit tomatoes and growers were aware of the damage, but we are not sure if Indiana potatoes were infected or how many," he said.

Egel is concerned that late blight on potato vines may have gone unnoticed. If the disease affects the tubers, the fungus can overwinter there and spread again next year.

Egel recommends growers take four steps:

Throw away any potato seed pieces saved from the 2009 crop that were to be used next year.

Plow under the potato crop and all vines now.

Rotate tomatoes and potatoes to new ground when planting the 2010 crop.

Pull volunteer tomatoes and potatoes next year.

"We normally don't worry about volunteer tomatoes and potatoes, but next year growers need to be vigilant and pull any that may come up," Egel said. "They could continue to spread late blight."

Dan Egel