The heat combined with higher humidity this year is leading to blight – a fungus problem.
It is most common on tomatoes, but can also impact peppers and eggplant. It shows up first on lower leaves as dark spots, progresses to browning leaves and can quickly kill the plant. Rainy weather and overhead irrigation can spread the spores within one plant and also to other plants.
Tips for dealing with blight:
- Check plants for spots on a regular basis – every few days is best.If you see spots on leaves, pinch off the leaves.
- Discard the leaves – and do not put them into the compost pile.
- Prune lower branches to open up the plant so it gets more air circulating through it.
- Trim away the lowest 6 to 8 inches of branches at the base of tomatoes so there is little or no foliage touching the soil. This type of pruning helps mitigate the humid conditions that promote blight.
Using a tomato cage or trellis to support branches also improves air circulation and is recommended by scientists at CSU.
- If overhead irrigation (spray irrigation) is used, water early in the morning so that leaves can dry out more quickly from sunshine and warmer temps.
- Drip irrigation prevents splashing water that will spread disease spores.
- Keep the garden weed free as weeds often harbor many diseases, including blight.
Growing veggies is a sustainable and healthy use of resources. And the more you apply sustainable landscape principles to your gardening effort, the more good you do for your own garden, your neighborhood – and even our planet through conserving our collective resources.
Keep gardening sustainably –
it’s good for us all!
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