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How to Effectively Fight Blight on Your Tomatoes

How to Effectively Fight Blight on Your Tomatoes

How to Effectively Fight Blight on Your Tomatoes

How to Effectively Fight Blight on Your Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a staple in many South African gardens, providing delicious and nutritious fruits for salads, sauces, and more. However, tomato plants can also be susceptible to a fungal disease known as blight, which can quickly ravage entire crops and leave gardeners feeling frustrated and defeated.

Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to prevent and treat blight on tomatoes. With the right techniques and tools, it is possible to keep your plants healthy and thriving despite this persistent threat.

Understanding Blight

Blight is caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans, which attacks the leaves, stems, and fruit of tomato plants. The first signs of infection are usually brown or black spots on the leaves, followed by yellowing and wilting of the foliage. As the disease progresses, the plant may become stunted and the fruit may rot on the vine.

Blight thrives in warm and moist conditions, so it is important to take steps to reduce humidity and prevent the spread of the disease. For example, you can water your tomatoes in the morning, rather than the evening, so that the leaves have time to dry out before nightfall.

Preventing Blight

The best way to deal with blight is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Here are a few tips for keeping your tomato plants healthy and disease-free:

  • Choose disease-resistant varieties. Some tomato plants are bred to be more resistant to blight, so look for these when choosing your seeds or seedlings.
  • Crop rotation. Move your tomatoes to a different location in your garden each year to prevent the buildup of fungal spores in the soil.
  • Proper spacing. Space your tomato plants far enough apart to allow for good air circulation, which can help to reduce humidity and prevent the spread of disease.
  • Mulch. A layer of mulch can help to keep the soil moist and suppress weeds, which can provide a source of infection for your tomato plants.
  • Remove infected foliage. If you notice any signs of blight on your tomato plants, remove the infected leaves and dispose of them immediately.

Treating Blight

If your tomato plants are already infected with blight, there are still steps you can take to limit the damage and prevent the disease from spreading.

  • Prune the plants. Cut off any infected stems and leaves, being sure to sterilize your pruning shears between cuts to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Remove infected fruit. Any fruit that is already infected with blight should be picked and discarded, as it can no longer be saved.
  • Apply a fungicide. There are many fungicides available that can help to control blight, but it is important to choose one that is labeled for use on tomatoes and to follow the instructions carefully. Please see our organic fungicide from Margaret Rorberts: CLICK HERE
  • Keep the plants dry. Blight thrives in moist conditions, so it is important to keep your tomato plants as dry as possible.

By taking these steps and following good cultural practices, you can successfully fight blight on your tomatoes and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

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