Late Blight Confirmed in Buncombe County on July 17, 2020

— Written By

Late Blight, Phytophthora infestans, is a well-known and persistent disease pathogen that affects tomatoes and potatoes. In Western North Carolina we see this disease every summer, and plant pathologists recently confirmed our first case of the 2020 growing season in Buncombe County.

Prevention is the key in safeguarding plants. This starts with proper plant variety selection – as susceptibility varies from one variety to the next. Keeping your plants as nutritionally balanced as possible gives your plants an advantage, as weak or under (or over-nourished) plantings are more likely to succumb to symptoms early in the season.

Adequate spacing and trellising in the field ensures proper air circulation, which is essential for any disease prevention. Growers should always scout plants for insect and disease issues, as this can provide valuable information on what’s occurring in the field and where “hot spots” of disease or insect pressure are located. Lastly, sprays can be used to prophylactically protect plants from this disease. Once Late Blight occurs, there is no eradicating of the pathogen, only management options.

Read more about how to identify the symptoms of this disease, resistant varieties, and spray options at: Tomato Late Blight