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Tomato diseases - know, anticipate, cure

Tomato diseases - know, anticipate, cure

Tomatoes are susceptible to many diseases, especially when the growing season is hot and especially humid. You know about downy mildew, one of the worst tomato diseases that affects other vegetables as well. This disease can wipe out your crops. This is also true for powdery mildew which can lead to the same consequences. There are many other diseases such as botrytis, early blight ... We can differentiate between apical necrosis (black butt) or fruit burst which are not diseases caused by a fungus, an insect or any pathogen.

How to recognize the different diseases, can we avoid them and the solutions to treat them? Quick recap to make your diagnosis, overview!

Tomato diseases: Alternaria blight

Alternaria is a fungal disease that primarily attacks the old leaves of tomatoes, but it can also appear on young plants, jeopardizing the entire harvest.

How to recognize early blight?

• Maroon - black spots appear on the leaves and petioles.
• They necrosis the plant parts.
• They progress by extending concentrically.
• The stems can then also be reached.
• Then the fruits, black hollowed spots appear near the tomato attachment point.
• As soon as the fruits are affected, other fungi can colonize and permanently damage the crops.

The causes of early blight?

In general, it is often a context of mild temperatures and humidity, rain, morning dew, when growing in a greenhouse or a tunnel, poor ventilation causing condensation are contributing factors.
Non-observance of crop rotation is also among the reasons for the attacks, as traces remain from one year to the next in the soil and in plant waste.

For gardeners who make their seeds, although the selected fruits are generally of good quality, it should be known that the seeds from a tomato potentially contaminated by the alternaria, will undoubtedly develop the disease.

Damage to crops?

• If the disease appears early it is very difficult to fight, it is better to pull up the plant and burn everything.
• When it comes later, when the fruits are already developed and NOT REACHED, remove them to ripen them off the stems and pull them up and burn the contaminated plants.

Tomato diseases: Downy mildew

Downy mildew is a fungus, one of the fungal diseases (Phytophthora infestans) tomatoes that regularly challenge the home gardener in the vegetable patch. Mildew is very feared because it wreaks havoc on crops especially in mild weather - hot and humid. Sometimes in the spring, but it is more during the rainy summers that the disease kicks in.

How to recognize late blight?

When mildew sets in, dark green spots appear on the edges of the leaves, then they take on a grayish, brown tint, then the leaves wilt. The stems of the plants are also impacted like the tomatoes which turn brown and wither. When the disease cannot be cured, the tomato plants wither completely and die.

How to treat mildew?

Act upstream, act from the start of growing tomatoes.
• First, some varieties of tomatoes are more susceptible to the disease than others, without being resistant, they are more tolerant and suffer less attack ... It's always interesting to know:
The varieties "Fandango", "Fantasio", "Maestria" and "Pyros" are quite tolerant like the Cherry tomatoes in general probably also because the culture is faster.
• When planting seedlings, respect an important space between them, for let the air circulate, to prevent the leaves of several plants from coming into contact, preventing drying after a rain and even favoring the passage of the disease.
Place a bed of shredded nettle in the hole that will accommodate the tomato plant. Nettle improves the ability of plants to resist disease.

When the plants are growing ...
• Sprinkle with nettle manure.
• Also use decoctions of comfrey and horsetail to sprinkle the tomato stalk not the leaves.
• Spray the foliage with Bordeaux mixture to prevent the disease from spreading to other plants.
• Removing a plant may be a drastic solution, but it is better to lose a plant than all the plants.
• A copper wire: On contact with the sap of the plant, copper develops copper oxide which will help the plant to be more resistant to fungi. You can use bare and burnt electrical wire to loosen a film of "varnish" on the metal.

• A complementary but very interesting solution is to To "make a roof" for the tomato plants. Indeed protected in this way, it benefits from the air and wind which dry the leaves and the leaves themselves are much less wet.

Tomato diseases: Powdery mildew

Again, tomato powdery mildew is a disease well known to home gardeners, known as powdery mildew or powdery mildew. Powdery mildew appreciates humidity and cold nights. The fungus infestation is easily recognizable. The leaves and stems of the tomato plant are found powdered with white. Then the leaves will eventually become deformed, dry, and the young shoots weaken ... It is from spring, and especially in late summer, that this fungus takes its toll.

• One solution that seems to be unanimous that does not completely eliminate the risk is to cover the plants with a roof, which prevents the plants from getting wet during the rains. There remains the humidity of the night, the space between the plants is then the best remedy to at least prevent contamination from occurring between the tomato plants that are too close together.
• Reinforce tomato plants, as in late blight, by adding shredded nettle leaves when transplanting tomato plants just before placing tomato plants.

How to treat powdery mildew?

• Observe the plants carefully. Powdery mildew is a fairly difficult disease to eradicate. Watch for white felting and quickly remove affected leaves to prevent spread.
• If the plant is severely affected, remove it before the others are contaminated. As a gardener, we are often reluctant to pull up plants, but it turns out that this is often the best solution to prevent the disease from spreading to all the plants in the kitchen garden.
Once you have detected a first contamination, it is necessary to treat not anticipation of the remaining plants and the soil nearby.
• Water with a decoction of horsetail or comfrey.
• Use the Bordeaux mixture.
Be careful if these treatments are Organic, that does not mean that they are harmless.

Photo by Goldlocki taken from under Creative Commons-3.0 license

The main diseases of chickens: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Several diseases can affect domestic hens, the most common being fowl plague, Marek and Aujeszky's diseases, typhosis, coryza and coccidiosis. Like any animal, they can also be affected by intestinal worms and external parasites (lice, mange) which can cause serious health problems.

Find out how to recognize, treat and anticipate these diseases, in particular through vaccination and essential hygiene rules.

Rose diseases: powdery mildew, black spots, rust.

The rosebush is a plant susceptible to disease but a vigorous shrub that rarely succumbs. These main enemies are aphids and mealybugs in insects, rust, powdery mildew, black spot disease and gray mold in mushrooms. A surveillance weekly and treatments preventive allow to anticipate any invasion of harmful insects and fungi, limiting the use of chemical treatments.

Some golden rules

- To avoid as much as possible the risk of disease respect the growing conditions rosebush: plant it in full sun, in light to medium heavy, neutral to weakly acidic soil.
- Do not replant a rose bush in a location that has already hosted a rose bush.
- Think about companion plants : lavender at the foot of the rose bushes protects them from aphids. Marigolds or marigolds will rid the soil of root nematodes.
- Always think well clean your tools after use to avoid contaminating other plants.
- If the rose bush is condemned : uproot and destroy affected plants. Disinfect and quarantine contaminated soil and sensitive plants for 3 months and within a radius of 10 m.

Find the disease easily thanks to the diagnostic table.

Oleander: leaf diseases of fungal origin

From diseases of oleander leaves, the most common are undoubtedly those offungal origin.

The most common pathology is certainly septoria, which takes its name from the pathogen that causes it: septoria oleandrine. This disease, which usually manifests itself in spring or summer, is characterized by the presence of brownish spots on the surface of the leaves. The spots tend to concentrate mainly around the edge of the leaves and appear raised to the touch.

A other disease that affects oleander leaves is the scabies, which occurs as a result of cutting of the lymphatic vessels, usually caused by improper sizing. Through damaged vessels, the fungus is able to penetrate and spread quickly.

Finally, another type of fungal disease is what is called soot, which in a short time can lead to oleander necrosis.

Bean sclerotinia

Bean sclerotinia is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.

  • Symptoms of sclerotinia
    Sclerotinia usually appears around flowering, as wet, irregular spots on the stems and pods.
  • Factors favorable to sclerotinia
    Its development is favored by humid climatic conditions and excess vegetation.
  • Harm of sclerotinia
    Stem attacks can cause scalding of the feet. The disease can also cause yield losses through pod rot, or even rejection of the harvest in the presence of brown-black sclerotia (conservation organs).
  • Means of combating sclerotinia
    In contaminated environments, preventive control against sclerotinia is essential.
    The protection will take place in a program with 2 or 3 applications, depending on the level of risk:
    - first application at the very beginning of flowering (first visible petals)
    - renewal after 10 or 15 days in the case of a program with 2 applications
    - after 7 or 8 days in the case of a program with 3 applications.

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Mildew declared on your tomatoes, what to do?

To begin with, you must react quickly, because if the disease is present and the conditions are favorable, it will spread quickly and you risk losing your entire harvest! On the other hand, it is useless to think that you will never have tomatoes! I have read a few times on the internet that as soon as your plants catch late blight, it's over. This kind of talk is a bit pessimistic and exaggerated, I testify from my experience and many gardeners will tell you the same thing, you can save your plants and we will see how.

First phase: identify the symptoms of late blight

First, identify the symptoms of disease. Downy mildew is a disease that thrives on all parts of the plant. Knowing how to identify it is essential. The sooner you identify it, the easier it will be to save your plants.

  • At leaf level downy mildew often starts at the edge of the leaf blade. Look closely at each leaflet. Downy mildew manifests itself in browning the upper part of the leaf blade. The diseased part begins by being dark green and then gradually turns brown.
  • Look at the stem, petioles and peduncles, downy mildew is very recognizable because it appears by forming brown spots.
  • Finally on the fruits, it browns the tomatoes. Hope you don't! Because at that moment yes there is a chance that it will be too late to intervene, but only and only if the mildew is widespread throughout the plant. In this case tear off your tomato plant.

Here is a late blight attack from the tip of the leaf blade. This is a potato leaf, having no photos of diseased tomato leaves. It looks very similar on a tomato leaf!

In this photo you can see the late blight on the stem of the tomato plant. The mildew is no longer progressing, my plant is saved thanks to the strong heat that we had for 2 or 3 days during the month of July. The stain persists but the plant is healthy.

Downy mildew can be seen on part of the peduncle. The mildew also stopped evolving after the hot days. The fruit continues to ripen so the sap passes.

Do not confuse late blight with other diseases

Some gardeners use the word "late blight" as soon as the tomato plants have a disease. The mildew is due to a single fungus which is called Phytophthora infestans.

It is, however, possible to confuse it with other diseases of tomatoes which look more or less similar to late blight:

  • Early blight, which appears on the leaves with circular necrotic spots 4 to 7 mm in diameter. Stems and petioles show brown to gray spots. The fruits are attacked around the peduncle and very black spots are observed.
  • The apical necrosis or black ass affects exclusively the bottom of the tomato, around the stigma. This is a symptom that may look like blotch, too, but it is located on the opposite side of the fruit. Downy mildew starts anywhere on the fruit and looks much browner than early blight and blossom end necrosis. As soon as we know this physiological disease well, it is easy to no longer confuse it with downy mildew.
  • Tomato black foot is a disease caused by Didymella lycopersici and manifests itself by a brown necrosis which encircles the stem at the level of the collar (part between the stem and the roots) and goes up on the stem. The appearance is similar to downy mildew and is easily confused. However, its very targeted location at the bottom of the plant leaves little doubt.

It is important to know how to differentiate mildew from these diseases, because the actions and possible treatments will not be the same.

Second phase: remove the affected parts

Second, you are going to have to remove the diseased parts. Using a clean knife or pruning shears, you will go through all your plants. Cut off each contaminated part and put it in a bucket. Do not leave the diseased parts at the base of your plants. This phase takes a little time, but it is essential. In the event that the mildew has gone around the stem and if you have healthy suckers upstream cut the stalk and let the suckers take over. If the mildew has slightly attacked the stem, do not cut, and refer to the last two treatments in this article.

Some precautions:

  • Disinfect your tools regularly with 70 ° alcohol.
  • I rub my hands with fresh peppermint before touching the plants, the mint helps fight fungus.
  • Avoid touching diseased parts with your hands.
  • Always cut at the level of the still healthy part, do not cut in the mildew, it will be useless.

Third phase: treat by favoring natural treatments

Finally we will have to treat for prevent the return of late blight on your tomato plants. Here are three treatments that can be used organically that prevent the return of the disease:

Horsetail decoction

Rather, the use of a horsetail decoction is recommended as a preventive measure. However, when the contaminated parts have been removed, it can be used to prevent subsequent contaminations.

The amount of horsetail needed is 1 kg of fresh plant for 10 l of water, or 150 g of dry plant for 10 l of water. If you only have a few feet of tomatoes it is of course unnecessary to provide 1 kg of horsetail. Cut the horsetail into small pieces then bring to the boil, leave on low heat for 30 minutes. Leave to cool for about 12 hours then filter.

Dilute to the fifth then spray your tomato plants, both sides of the leaves, stems and peduncles.

Bordeaux mixture

The use of Bordeaux mixture gives rise to heated debates about its use. Authorized in organic farming (with precise limits), it is however recognized as harmful to the life of the soil (accumulation phenomenon), toxic for the person who applies it and for the people who will consume the treated fruits and vegetables (s). 'they are not washed). It is also reprotoxic for humans and phytotoxic for certain plants.

This is why I recommend not to use Bordeaux mixture in your vegetable garden.

However, if you still decide to use it, let me give some recommendations:

  • Always divide the quantity written on the packages by two.
  • Protect yourself ! Mask and gloves compulsory.
  • Always have very strong pressure in your sprayer.
  • Avoid creating runoff on the stems.
  • Add a little clay if necessary so that the Bordeaux mixture binds better to your plants.
  • If rain is forecast, postpone your treatment.
  • Finally, wait 15 days between 2 treatments and 15 days also to harvest your tomatoes after your last treatment.
  • Wash fruits well before eating them.

Baking soda + black soap

Put in a liter of water 5g of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of black soap. Spray. Bicarbonate neutralizes the acidity of a medium. Downy mildew thrives at a rather acidic pH. By making the environment unfavorable, the sporulation of mildew is slowed down. For more information see this article on baking soda.

Who says you can't cure late blight?

We saw it in the photos, mildew is destroyed with high temperatures. Growing your plants in a greenhouse makes it easy to benefit from this healing effect by letting the temperatures rise. Only when we start the vegetable garden we rarely have a greenhouse available. No problem, gardeners and market gardeners have experimented with and proven the effectiveness of natural treatments which have a curative action on mildew.

Sage infusion

Medicinal sage is known for its antifungal properties. Gardeners' experiences highlight the infusion of sage for a real curative effect on tomato mildew in 48 hours. 200g of officinal sage leaves (or 150g of flowering tops) for 10l of water, brought to 80 ° C, leave to cool, filter and spray pure.

Essential oils: Rosemary with cineole

Many essential oils have antifungal properties. Among those which give convincing results against mildew we find the rosemary with cineole. Since essential oils are immiscible in water, they must be diluted in soap to make an emulsion. The amount is 20 drops of essential oils for 5l of water (without forgetting the soap).

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