Tomato Disease Control - Knowledgebase Question

Hazleton, PA
Question by w3ivg
September 10, 1998
My tomato plants are nearly finished for this season. The leaves and stems are turning brown as if they are dieing.I bury all my plants at the end of every season. My wife is claiming that I am planting diseased plants and that they will affect my plants next season because of the fungus and disease I am planting this year. I say the leaves and plants are just dieing naturally. She says I shouldn't bury them. Please clear this before I go any further with my burying.


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Answer from NGA
September 10, 1998

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While in principle it is a good idea to return organic matter to the soil, if there is any chance at all that your plants are diseased it is important to remove and destroy (do not bury or even compost) all of the plant debris, including any fallen tomatoes. A number of diseases can overwinter in old roots, stems, leaves, and even seeds. Some diseases are also soil-borne and thus the further recommendation for rotating tomato plantings are important. Unfortunately, based on your description I can't tell what (if anything) is wrong with your plants, but if you have had disease problems in your garden be sure to look for resistant varieties in the future and pay careful attention to garden clean up both during the season and in the fall.

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