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rotten green tomatoesThere’s nothing quite like plucking fresh, juicy tomatoes from the garden for a summer salad or savory dinner dish. Growing tomatoes is a rich and rewarding experience. When planted correctly, they require little maintenance to grow healthy and lush. But even the most experienced tomato gardener can’t prevent diseases 100% of the time. Learn how to spot (and resolve) late summer tomato diseases.

4 Common Tomato Diseases

  1. Fusarium Wilt. When temperatures skyrocket, the risk of soil fungus rises, too. Fusarium infects a tomato plant through the roots, growing in the vascular system until it reaches the stems and leaves. Plants infected with fusarium often look normal until they bear fruit, after which leaves turn yellow and wither in the sunlight. Rotate crops each season to prevent fusarium bacteria from developing in the soil.
  2. Late blight. More prevalent during rainy summers, water mold causes these late summer blight infections. Diseased plants have tan-colored, wet spotted leaves. If wet weather persists for 2-3 days, the tomato plant will quickly shrivel and die. Avoid purchasing tomato seedlings with tan spots on the leaves.
  3. Nematodes. These parasitic roundworms infect tomato plants at the root. They’re most prevalent in climates with warm, sandy soils. Nematode infected plants cause knobs and swollen sections on the roots. Infected tomatoes grow more slowly, wilt on hot days, and may develop light green or yellow leaves. Rotating crops, eradicating weeds, and planting resistant varieties (such as “Nema-Gone” marigolds) can decrease nematode populations.
  4. Tomato-spotted wilt. A variety of plants are susceptible to this disease, which spreads through the saliva of small insects called thrips. Infected tomato plants will become stunted, develop bronze spots, wilt, and have stiff or curled leaves. Tomato fruit from infected plants will likely rot before they ripen. If your tomato garden is infected, rotate crops annually with resistant varieties. Grow plants that attract minute pirate bugs, which prey on thrips and may save your plants.

Want to learn more about planting tomatoes, tomato care, and preventing tomato disease? Call Autumn Hill Nursery in Canton, GA.

Tomato Rot Image Source

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