Late Blight Detected in Upstate New York

Published online: Aug 21, 2019 Articles Bob Clark
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Source: Olean Times Herald

The plant disease responsible for the Irish Potato Famine has been found on plants growing in New York's Allegany County.

Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Allegany County reported Monday that late blight, a fungal disease attacking tomato and potato plants, was detected in the county on Aug. 15.

Late blight is a serious, airborne disease of tomatoes and potatoes best known for causing the Irish potato famine. Late blight is caused by a fungus-like organism that spreads dozens of miles on storm fronts.

Late blight can kill plants in less than two weeks. Disease spots are often dark gray to brown in color and tend to be surrounded by pale green tissue. Initially, spot shape and size varies but eventually most of an infected leaf or stem will become discolored and die. Leaf spots often look slightly fuzzy on the underside of the leaf in the early morning or when the weather is wet and humid conditions. Late blight will put dark brown to black smears on plant stems.