New York Issues Late Blight Alert

Published online: Jun 19, 2018 Articles, Fungicide
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Source: Times Herald-Record

An apparently new strain of late blight, a disease that can destroy tomato and potato crops in short order, has triggered a state-wide alert following its discovery in Onondaga County, N.Y.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets is asking home gardeners, greenhouse growers and vegetable farmers to inspect their plants immediately and keep a close eye on them for any sign of the disease.

?(This) is a serious plant disease that can wreak havoc on the state’s tomato and potato industry, which rank high nationally in production,?  Richard Ball, the ag and markets commissioner, said in a statement.

Ball said New York growers should report the first sign of late blight to their local Cornell Cooperative Extension office so action can be taken promptly to prevent its spread.

The disease, which caused the Irish potato famine in 1840, can spread by air and water.

The infected tomato plants found in Onondaga County were destroyed, and vegetable pathologists at Cornell are now working to determine what fungicides will be effective in managing what appears to be an unknown or uncommon strain of late blight.

Growers can identify late blight by looking for black or brown lesions on leaves and stems of tomato and potato plants.

The disease thrives in humid, wet conditions and can spread quickly from field to field and over several miles.

Plants can be destroyed within days of the first lesions being detected.