tomato blight - Knowledgebase Question

Lodi, Ne
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Question by speedlimit85
September 23, 2010
Once again I got tomato blight. I have limited space and have no choice where I plant them. If I spray the soil now with a diluted bleach solution will it kill the spores in the soil and dissapate before next planting season?

Answer from NGA
September 23, 2010
Wish your bleach solution would work, but unfortunately it won't kill the pathogen. Early Blight is caused by the Alternaria fungus. It overwinters on infected plant material, even seeds, so it's hard to completely remove the spore reservoir from the garden by cleaning up all the vines and fruit. Late Blight is caused by the Phytophthora fungus. The fungus is always growing somewhere and releasing spores into the air, which moves on wind currents. It doesn't overwinter in your soil, so treating the soil won't help. I'd recommend planting next year's tomatoes in containers filled with moistened potting soil. When choosing tomato varieties, look for the words "disease-resistant" or the letters V (verticillium), F (fusarium), N (nematodes), T (tobacco mosaic), and A (alternaria). Some of the most disease-resistant varieties include Celebrity, SuperTasty, and Big Beef. Burpee's roma-type, 'Viva ItaliaHybrid', is resistant to Verticillium, Fusarium, Nematodes, and Bacterial Speck. As far as I know, there are no varieties resistant to the late blight fungus (Phytophthora).

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