I thought blight was inevitable on the front range

Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)August 24, 2012

I was reading in the tomato forum that it's not. I put in a new raised bed- new soil. planted 8 tomatoes. 2 died early. 3 seem to have blight coming on. It's my 2nd year gardening and had the same thing happen last year. So, is it inevitable here?

I have blight. What can I do, so I don't get it next year? Someone mentioned draconil but I want to stay organic, another mentioned using a propane torch to burn the top 1" to kill the spores. Any ideas?

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What kind of blight? I think we all get some kind of late season issues with leaves starting to blotch and yellow from the bottom up, that can be controlled by snipping the infected leaves off.

But from what I gather, the big issue around here is wind-born curly top virus, carried by the beet hoppers. They can hit anytime, but seems to be anywhere from mid-June to mid-July.

But I'm no expert.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:16AM
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I wish that some one would tell me for sure what gets my tomatoes every year. Just about the time they start producing. First wilt, then dead plants. Over the years i have spent time researching the web to identify it. When i think I have an answer some expert tells me that i am all wrong. (Dr Carolyn, who lived in Denver many years)
So: what is a beet hopper? And how could i possibly have them? Can you get curly top without them?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 11:40AM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

Kenny- I feel the same way. I've cut 1/4-1/3 of either dead leaves on plants where I have leaf curl, or blight.

This leaf curl is new to us this year. When I posted earlier in the year many people said it was either exposure to 2,4D (We dont use chemicals and I don't think my neighbors do either) or just the strong heat. But now considering the small stems are just drying up and the leaves are crumbling, I don't think it was just the heat. Now I have to research this beet hopper. If it's wind borne, at least its not in the soil. Still, how can I prevent both from happening next year. I like the propane torch idea but it will also kill beneficial microorganisms.

The diseases might take over the plant before I get all my tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 2:23PM
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At the link is a description and decent photos of curly top virus.

If beans or peppers get it, the leaves are all wrinkled up. I lost my entire bean crop this year.

Anyway, those pictures could have been taken in my garden

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 9:34PM
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I don't think there is any way I could have leaf hoppers on my plants and not know it. From discussions I had a few years ago, I doubt that beet curly top occurs in NE Colorado
Lesuko, my problem. First wilt all over the plant, then the leaves curl and finely dead- no yellow leaves like other problems. The plants just fade away.
I have had 24D problems and it is kind of like that, but if you have ever seen 24D damage it is very easy to tell.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 12:51AM
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Those leaf hoppers are tiny, look like aphids with wings.

It seems they're more prevalent in Utah and Western Colo, but do exist on the eastern slope, but thats considerably rarer.

So its likely something else you folks are dealing with.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:32AM
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David, after a bit more research I find that it could be on the eastern slope. It was something else I was thinking of.
Appears it does have to have the leaf hopper, but can be on many plants and weeds. Russian thistle and kosia (sp?) weed among others, if i remember right.
This is an every year thing with my tomatoes. Two different locations. It seems to spread from one plant to the next one. I sprayed for grass hoppers 10 days ago and that did not slow it down a bit.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

I definitely have blight on some plants but also this leaf curl. It's actually different (the curl) between the plants. 2 are like the photos in your link- leaves curl up and are paler underneath. On my black cherry though, the leaves curl up but are thick and tight. On all 3, the stems/leaves are drying up brown. while the cherry and cherokee continued to grow, the brandywine is toppled over.

I am a bit confused- David mentions beet hopper and Kenny you mention leaf hopper. We have a honey locus in our yard and get leafhoppers every year. A tree guy said they are harmless and CO extension information doesnt mention that they can cause disease in gardens/tomatoes. The leaf hoppers look like the photos of the beet hoppers. We also do not have many weeds around here- semi-urban area. of course we have some!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Beet leafhopper
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Beet leafhopper
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Cicadellidae
Genus: Circulifer
Species: C. tenellus
Binomial name
Circulifer tenellus
(Baker, 1896)

The beet leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus) is a species of leafhopper with a longer, thinner build than most. It is found across much of the United States and Mexico, in South Africa and from the countries around the Mediterranean Sea to Central Asia [1].

The beet leafhopper is the carrier of the dreaded curly top virus. A single feeding from a beet leafhopper can infect a nightshade plant like tobacco, tomato, chili pepper, or eggplant, infecting it and rendering it useless for agriculture.

Aside from some pesticides, the beet leafhopper can be managed by companion planting, it is repelled by marigolds, while both petunias and Pelargonium geraniums act as trap crops, drawing them away.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:57PM
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A lot of old timers around here surround their gardens with marigolds.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 2:14PM
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mayberrygardener(z5a, Broomfield, CO)

This is the first year (I've been gardening "regularly" for 5-6 years) that I've had problems with my tomatoes--AND peppers. I've always had the usual midseason yellowing and drying up of lower leaves, easily controlled by trimming. However, this year, I have had both peppers and tomatoes doing strange things--leaves yellowing then dying, or sometimes the entire plant would yellow and then wilt. Always, the production would stop growing and died with the plant--and on some of the tomatoes and even a few of the peppers, a speckling and dimpling of the flesh, on the plants that didn't quite die. I still have a number of vigorous and healthy plants, so I'm convinced it is soil-borne something-or-other, and all the current containers will be skipped next year for nightshades. I'll plant something else and let some lie fallow--maybe I'll dump the dirt out into a pile somewhere? I dunno, but it sure is frustrating!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 5:16PM
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Anyone else get weird blotchy and uneven ripening tomatoes along with the wilted leaves? This year and last, my tomatoes have looked a bit odd.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

Yep! I was assuming it was the blight. My tomatoes have a slight tang to them.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:08PM
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I get that blotchy fruit with my diseased plants as well. They don't taste all that great, but I go ahead and process the better looking ones along with the others when making sauces and such.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:48AM
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