Early blight recovery?

Siouxzn(7)June 9, 2014

First thing, I failed to take photos for you all and I will not be able to for a few days.. Sorry

I had several tomato plants of different varieties that got what appeared to be early blight (yellow leaves, black spots, progressing from the ground up). I am only home on weekends and have a drip system to water while I am gone so unfortunately by the time I noticed it, the blight had progressed up the plants quite a bit.

I got some fungicide spray, cut off all the branches that were yellow and sprayed the hell out of all the plants until they were dripping.

The following week when I was back in town, the yellowing had spread upward a few branches so I again cut the yellow ones off, and sprayed it again (I also hit them the next day with baking soda solution). At this point there wasn't much of the plants left, just the very upper branches. I figured it wasn't going to work but I let them go another week.

This last weekend, there is still a hint of yellowing further up and I almost yanked them all out and gave up, but I noticed that the lower portions where I cut off all the branches are now growing new branches. Quite a few actually and they look healthy and green.

Is this common? Should I still give up and yank them all out? Or let them go at this point and see what happens?

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I would keep them. What do you have to lose? If the new growth is healthy and green that is good news!


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:44PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Your problem could be something as simple as over-watering rather than early blight as the symptoms can be somewhat similar.

So without knowing what the real cause of the problem is it's difficult to know what to do. I could rule out Early Blight here in my garden simply because it is far too early for it to develop here but that is not be the case in your zone.

Either way you have done what you can to slow it down if it is Early Blight (although spraying fungicides until dripping isn't rally recommended). Is it common for plants to recover from EB? No, although if fungicides are used regularly it can be slowed enough that they can continue to grow and produce some fruit.

But plants can recover from over-watering so if it isn't EB then you need to evaluate the other possible causes and address them. You could try slightly increasing the duration of your watering but reducing the frequency by half for a week and see what happens. Meanwhile there is no need to rip out the plants.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Well, when I first planted these (second week in May) we had a week or two of huge rainfalls (western washington) and now the past few weeks have been sunny and warm. My drip system is only on for 3 minutes every 2 hours with 1/2 gph drip emmitors. And they are planted in a raised bed with a garden mix soil (compost, sand, top soil, and vermiculite). I guess it could have been a result of the deluge of rain and they are finally snapping back. I will leave them alone and see how they do now that the weather is warm and dry.

What made me think that it was blight was the ones located inside my greenhouse also looked the same, and they were not exposed to the rains, and they are not on the drip system.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:58PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

drip system is only on for 3 minutes every 2 hours with 1/2 gph drip

That is a very unusual pattern. Can I ask why you have it set up that way? 3 mins. with 1/2 gph emmiters is no more than a tablespoon or so of water at a time. Is this every 2 hours around the clock? If so then they are only getting something less than 1 cup of water every 24 hours. That results in shallow rooted, water-dependent plants.

Running the system for 2 hours at a time once a week or similar (maybe 2x a week in very hot and dry weather) if far more normal as it delivers the needed 1 gallon deep watering on a much less frequent basis for the deep rooting the plants thrive on.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:14PM
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Well I had this setup for my containers as well and the water drains all way through the container with this frequency. I have checked the soil below the surface and it is wet but not sopping.

I mainly did this frequency because it worked very well last year and I had a good crop.

3 minutes every 2 hours would be 36 minutes in a day, and a little more than 1/4 gallon per day. Unless my math is wrong...it happens :)

But I see your point in the deep rooting and will change the frequency and amount to see if it helps.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 4:01PM
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