The Q&A Archives: Tomato Wilt Leaf

Question: Last summer my wife and I included five varieties of what we believed to be disease-resistant tomato plants (all rated at least VFN). As blooms and fruit began to appear so did small bumps along the stalks of the vines followed by leaf wilt. A gentleman from the local Coop Extension suggested that the plants were suffering from bacterial wilt. He suggested that we try "Venus" or "Saturn" tomato plants this year. Have you heard of anyone experiencing a similar problem? Are you familiar with the varieties the agent suggested? Where can I get inforation about them and seeds or plants if they appear promising? Do you have any other varieties that you can recommend? I really appreciate your time and effort. We're both big tomato fans and really stumped. Thanks again. Jill

Answer: Another possible cause for your wilting tomato plants is southern blight, caused by a soil-borne fungus. The first step in combating any fungal or bacterial disease is to practice good sanitation in your garden. Promptly remove and destroy any diseased plant material, keep weeds down, and rotate crops. Keep plants well-spaced to promote good air circulation. I am not familiar with the tomato varieties you mention--perhaps they are varieties available to commercial growers. You might try the "Mountain" varieties, developed by Dr. Randy Gardner at North Carolina State Univ., including Mountain Delight VFFA and Mountain Supreme VF (also resistant to early blight). These are available from Tomato Growers Supply Co., PO Box 2237, Fort Meyers, FL33902, (914)768-1119..

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