While everyone loves to grow tomatoes, they can be a tricky crop because of their susceptibility to multiple types of diseases, one of them being late blight. Unlike early blight, which is a soil-born bacterial disease, late blight is a fungal disease that is transported through the air and affects crops during periods of cool, wet weather. The spores attach to both tomato and potato plants, causing a darkening of the stalks and making the fruit inedible.
If you notice late blight in your garden, it’s important to swiftly deal with the situation. While you can use a copper fungicide to slow the effects of late blight, the best way to rid it from your garden and protect the rest of your crop is to remove the affected plant or plants. If you don’t do this, there’s a good chance more of your garden—and perhaps the gardens of your neighbors—will be affected and fast.
Once you remove the plants, careful disposal of them is a must. If you can, avoid transporting late-blight-affected plants on a windy day, as you will risk spreading the spores. Do not throw them in your compost bin or in the municipal yard-waste pickup either—you will risk spreading the disease throughout your garden and to other gardens in your community if you do. Instead, bag the plants and throw them in the trash can.
Late blight can be difficult to deal with, but it isn’t a death sentence. Will some careful garden management, you can protect your tomatoes and grow bushels of them for years to come.