Early Blight on Tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Toms River, NJ
Avatar for gmg1973
Question by gmg1973
June 28, 1998
My cherry tomatos all got blackish brown spots on their lower leaves and it seems to be spreading upwards. I figure that this is early blight and have been treating the leaves with fungicide with sulfur in it. I cut the infected leaves off. Is there any way to salvage these plants and still get some tomatos or will they just wind up dying no matter what? Is it best to just rip them out of the ground now before it spreads to my other plants? Do only tomatos get this?

Answer from NGA
June 28, 1998
Based on your description it does sound like the tomatoes have early blight. Although there is a possibility the plants would continue to survive, the fruit quality and quantity will probably be poor and you will risk infecting more of your plants. Unfortunately the best thing to do in my experience is remove and destroy the infected plants.

Early blight is a fungus and it spreads very easily to both tomatoes and potatoes. Since the fungus will survive on infected leaves, stems, and in the soil as well as in the tomato seeds (and infected potato tubers) it is very important to clean up every bit of plant debris you can find.

In the future, you should also follow a careful three or four year crop rotation schedule to try to mimize the chances for a reoccurence. I'm sorry about your tomatoes.

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