Causes & Natural Remedies For Tomato Plant Disease

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This article provides the cases of fungal diseases on tomato plants and natural remedies
by Brett · All Zones · Vegetables · 0 Comments · May 28, 2014 · 2,438 views

Anyone who has grown tomato plants knows that they are susceptible to diseases. Some of the more common yet preventable and/or curable diseases of tomato plants are early blight, powdery mildew and viruses.

Early Blight - On older plants, dark spots with concentric rings develop on older leaves first. The surrounding leaf area may turn yellow. Affected leaves may die prematurely, exposing the fruits to sun scald. Dark lesions on the stems start off small and slightly sunken. As they get larger, they elongate and you will start to see concentric markings like the spots on the leaves. Spots that form near ground level can cause some girdling of the stem or collar rot. Plants may survive, but they will not thrive or produce many tomatoes. If early blight gets on the fruits, spots will begin at the stem end, forming a dark, leathery, sunken area with concentric rings. Both green and ripe tomatoes can be affected. Affected seedlings will have dark spots on their leaves and stems. They may even develop the disease on their cotyledon leaves. Stems often wind up girdled.


Powdery Mildew - At least two sets of symptoms appear on tomatoes. Yellow patches on lower leaves eventually turn brown. White, powdery spots appear on leaf surfaces, spreading to cover leaves and even stems. In both cases, leaves of the affected plant eventually die and fall off, leaving fruit exposed to sunscald.


Viruses - More than 20 viruses affect tomatoes worldwide, causing a wide variety of mosaic patterns and distortions to the leaves, stunted growth and marbling patterns on the fruit. You may see brown streaked leaves, young leaves curl downwards and become bronzed, leaf surface appears bubbly, dry fruit set, discoloered fruit, or fern leaf, where the leaf blade is reduced in size to give a fern-like appearance.


Prevention always comes first...

Soil Moisture - Since water-stressed tomato plants are more susceptible to disease we'll first address this issue. Watering tomato plants is as crucial as pruning, preparing soil, feeding, etc.. If neglected or done incorrectly it can lead to development of fungus and other disease that could cause your tomato plants to underperform or even die The basic rule of thumb is to water tomato plants only enough to keep the soil consistently moist or damp, but not constantly soggy or wet. Avoid pouring too much water as it makes air exchange in the roots and soil more difficult. Always water in the morning or during the day and avoid splashing water on the leaves. Watering late in the evening or at night is a recipe for disease. Below this article you will find a link to an article that provides detailed instructions for properly watering tomato plants.

Soil Prep- Proper soil preparation is equally important as watering, and perhaps even more important. Tomato plants prefer a moist but well-drained soil. If the soil is not prepared properly at planting time it might not make much of a difference in how you water the plants. For example, if you plant your tomato plants in poor draining soil, and there is above-average rainfall, the soil will stay constantly soggy and plants will most likely develop fungal or other diseases that can be fatal. Below this article you'll find a links to articles that provide proper planting instructions for tomato plants.

Air Circulation & Pruning - In areas that often experience hot, rainy, humid summers, space plants at least 3 feet apart. Prune tomato plants in order to provide better air circulation. At a minumum, remove lower branches and leaves that are touching the ground. Below this article you'll find a link to an article that provides helpful tomato plant pruning instructions.

Sanitation - Since many funguses and pathogens can over-winter on plant debris and in the soil, sanitation is essential. So many tomato diseases can come into your garden this way. At the end of a growing season make sure to clean up all plant residue. Organic mulch added around the plants will protect roots while preventing fungal spores from splashing onto the plant.

Crop Rotation - If you've had an outbreak of early blight, find somewhere else to plant your tomatoes next year. If your garden isn't large enough or you don't have several separate garden plots in which to properly rotate planting location from one year to the next, consider growing them in containers for a season. Below this article you'll find a link to an article that provides helpful information about crop rotation in vegetable gardens.

Disease Resitant Varieties - Buy certified seeds seeds and seedlings from reputable sources and inspect all plants you intend to purchase from a nursery and garden center. There are many varieties of tomato which have demonstrated very high resistance to fungal diseases and viruses. Do a little research and consider growing these resistant varieties.

Removal - Remove plants that are diseased beyob help! When blight or powdery mildew has infected leaves, immediately remove and destroy them to help prevent the disease from spreading.

Natural Methods For Control of Early Blight, Powdery Mildew & Viruses...

If your plants already have a disease, here are some remedies that might help to prevent or control further spread of diseases.

Baking-Soda Spray
Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate, which has antifungal properties that can help naturally control early tomato blight, powdery mildew and anthracnose. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. After throughly mixing, add 1 gallon of water and 1/2 teaspoon of castile soap. For easier application, transfer the mixture to a pump sprayer and thoroughly apply the spray to the plants, ensuring the mixture covers both the upper and lower leaves as well as the soil. Multiple applications every 5 to 7 days may be needed in order to control the fungal disease. This spray can be used as a preventive measure or to control the fungus at the first signs of infection.

Aspirin Fungal Spray
Aspirin helps to treat powdery mildew. Use uncoated aspirin tablets measuring 325 milligrams and dissolve two tablets in 1 quart of water. Spray the tomato plants thoroughly to coat the entire plant, including the undersides of the leaves. If after a week powdery mildew symptoms persist, reapply the aspirin treatment to the tomatoes.

Tomato Virus Prevention Spray
The tomato virus protective spray prevents several viruses from attacking tomato plants, including tomato leaf blight, tomato mosaic virus and spotted wilt virus. The recipe is 1 gallon of water, 8 ounces of skim milk and 1/2 teaspoon of antitranspirant. Skim milk adds calcium, which is a common deficiency in tomato plants, and antitranspirant will protect the surface of the tomato plant from disease spores without interfering with the plant’s pores. When spraying the plant with the mixture, ensure you cover all areas of the tomato plant, including the undersides of the leaves.




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