Home Remedies for Tomato Blight

If you’re looking forward to biting into a juicy red tomato this gardening season, you better keep your eye out for tomato blight, which can completely eliminate any hopes of a decent tomato crop. If you allow this common foliar disease to run rampant, your plants may not generate flowers. Gardeners interested in foregoing store-bought chemical means of controlling plant disease may want to consider a couple of home remedies for tomato blight.

ghr-tomato-blight

What is Blight?

Gardeners and farmers can begrudgingly thank the fungus Alternaria solani for bringing early blight to tomatoes. The disease wipes out crops because it infects the fruit and reduces the overall appearance and results of a plant. If the fruit should happen to survive the initial effects of tomato blight, they become susceptible to other conditions, such as sunscald – the light patches of color found on some fruit.

Alternaria spores germinate within two hours. However, climates with 80- to 85-degree weather may see germination take place in just 30 minutes. Within three to 12 hours, the fungus starts to penetrate the plant. Lesions generally start to appear between two to three days, but in cases of wet conditions or 60-degree days, the infection may lie dormant [1]. If a plant is already stressed or poorly maintained, tomato blight infections cause the most damage. Soil that is deficient of vital nutrients also creates a breeding ground for the disease to linger.

Symptoms

In its earliest stage, tomato blight produces small black or brown circles that appear on the lower leaves of your plants. The spotting often features dark outer rings with a lighter center. As the infection surges, the number of spots accumulate and the leaves start to yellow. The fungus then travels up the plant, killing any leaves that it encounters. Other signs that your tomatoes are infected with blight include:

  • Destroyed floral production
  • Browning of plant tissues
  • Dead leaves
  • Fruit rot
  • Stem cankers

Tomato Blight Home Remedies

Fight tomato blight by embracing home remedies that help put an end to this pesky fungus. Consider the following suggestions when you wish to save your garden or crops:

a) Control Insects:

In order to lessen plant damage, control the amount of insect feeding that takes place, which can reduce the spread of fungus spores.

b) Use Your Hands:

Handpick leaves that look diseased with tomato blight, as this may slow the rate in which the fungus spreads. When following this home remedy, do not work in a wet garden.

c) Replant with Clean Seeds:

To ensure plants free from disease, replant your tomatoes using only clean seeds unaffected by previous blight.

d) Soft Soap [2]:

According to Norman W. Henley you can use soft soap to create a handful of home remedies. Three recipes mentioned in his book include:

40 parts soft soap
50 parts amyl alcohol
20 parts methylated spirits
1,000 parts water

30 parts soft soft
2 parts sulphureted potash
32 parts amyl alcohol
1,000 parts water

15 parts soft soap
29 parts sulphureted potash
1,000 parts water

e) Bordeaux Mixture:

In France, the Bordeaux Mixture[3] was created to treat fungal disease in vines. Consisting of copper sulfate and hydrated lime, this fungicide has been used for more than a century to control the infections that attack vineyards, nurseries, farms, and gardens.

Resources

[1] http://extension.umaine.edu/ipm/ipddl/publications/5087e/
[2] Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes And Processes by Norman W. Henley Publisher; 1916

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bordeaux_mixture

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