Late Blight scare? Bullet Dodged?

Coconut_Head(5b)June 27, 2012

I check my Tomato plants pretty much every day. Out of the 48 plants in the ground, Two were bought from HD, both Cherokee puples.

So on Monday, I go out in the AM and notice that one CP has Black on it. I inspect further. There are black spots on some leaves and stems and on two of the early fruit clusters. On the edge and tip of several leaves, the black is bigger and not "spots" but just larger areas where it is visbly soggy and black. On the undersid of one of the leaves I inspected I did see some white moldy type growth.

Knowing that no matter what, this sin't good. I carefully pulled all the infected parts of the plant, including the fruit trusses which one had 3 golf ball sized toms on it. I pulled 5-6 full leaves back to the stem, 2 suckers which had multiple leaves with the infection and 2 fruit trusses.

It's now wednesday and there have been no additional signs of damage on that plant, nor any adjacent plants. So what the heck was this. I mean it came on literally overnight and I thought for sure I was going to have to at the very leats pull the whole plant and the plants adjacent to it. Now it looks as if i either was successful in removing the effected areas and didn't spread any or it wasn't late blight afterall, just some other less harmful fungal or bacterial growth.

From what I have read, Late blight takes plants down quickly, so surely after two and a half days, if this was late blight, the plant would be showing further signs of infection. Am I right here or should I not be counting my chickens just yet?

CH

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Battalina(6b)

Hi CH, I am new to gardening and growing tomatoes for the first time, but I just wanted to say that I am fighting either LB or gray mold and the first plant that got sick was my Cherokee Purple from the Home Depot...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Coconut_Head(5b)

Yea, I probably should have skipped them alltogether. I had plenty of other to put in the ground, I just really wanted to try CP for myself.

I just hope there is a happy ending in that I get to keep them, or at least not a disasterous one where I lose all my tomatoes and potatoes. I would cry.

CH

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 4:05PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

From the time that symptoms of TRUE LB are seen within a WEEK or two the plants would be a mushy mess of black. There are those times that if affected foliage is removed ASAP that total systemic infection can be avoided and the plants live.

I think someone here posted the link to the Cornell site that explained about light infections, etc.

Possibilities as to what you saw:

Black areas due to all the rain we had last week in our area along with the recent COLD.

Gray Mold, but that would persist with disposing of affected foliage and then ASAP getting on a Daconil spray schedule.

Carolyn, whose major tomato problems are many right now but if someone could "take care" of the woodchuck out there that's eating my tomato plants that would be great. He/she is also grazing on the longer lawn grass so I don't think the woodchuck has anything personal against me. ( smile)

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Coconut_Head(5b)

Nothing when I checked them right after work. It was pretty warm and dry today. Maybe I am out of the woods?

CH

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Coconut_Head(5b)

This AM I checked again. One leaf on the same plant had a tiny black speck on it. The size of a pin head. I couldn't properly asses it due to it's size but since it was just one leaf, out it goes.

The rest of the plant looks good, it's even jumped up in height a little since I removed the fruit and some of the leaves. It was actually lagging behind a bit and actually was about 3X's the size of my seedling starts when I planted them all out. Now it is about 3/4ths the size of the smallest plant I set out (I put them next to eachother for comparison.

CH

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 8:46AM
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Coconut_Head(5b)

Well in a slightly disturbing turn of events, we had an early AM thunderstormn pass through. Maybe 4 Am or so. The plant was clean at dusk, but this AM, it had about 4-5 new black spots. Not in a centralized area either. I yanked the plant and disposed of it. I only hope that it still was not late blight and that whatever it was did not infect the surrounding plants. I would hate to pull another 5 or so plants.

I have 2 San marzano redorta's I have kept lingering around in thier solo cups for just such a purpose. I know it's real late, but I threw one in anyways. Maybe I'll get a couple late tomatoes out of it anyways.

CH

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 8:36AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Late Blight is not characterized by black spots, the symptoms are different as to appearance starting with the petioles that bend downwards as well as leaf symptoms.

Have you looked at some disease sites to see what the symptoms of Late Blight look like? That might help.

To me, small black spots on the leaves speak to mainly Bacterial Speck or Bacterial Spot, two of the common foliage diseases and the other two are fungal, Early Blight and Septoria Leaf spot, and all four are spread by wind and rain as new infections.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Coconut_Head(5b)

I guess it does look more like something bacterial in nature. I mean I would call it bacterial speck, but there are no yello halo's around any of the spots or lesions. They are definatley black, the spots in the center of the leaf are round, and along the leaf margins are not symetrical, they just seem to spread along the margin and inwards. Some of the sepals on the flowers were heavily blackened also. And then there were a few stems with black spots.

The spots on the leaf margins were soggy and what I would call "necrotic". The spots in the middle of the leafs looked a little more firm, maybe they were just slower to develop. Either way the plant is pulled and I have still not seen it on any other plants yet. Does bacterial infections spead easily, especially if I am pulling the infected tissue so quickly?

CH

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 9:39AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I think of Late Blight leaf lesions as initially a dark slate gray rather than black, but I'm not sure how long that color lasts. An adjacent area with a "water-soaked" appearance is another good clue.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 11:57AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

No, Bacterial infections do not spread from plant to plant unless you've been handling the affected leaves and transferred them yourself. And I spoke to splashback infection is a post above. All of the foliage diseases that are NEW are spread by wind and rain.

Am I remembering correctly that you aren't that far from where I garden? I just can't remember. Yes, we had a T-storm that reached here in my area about 4 AM and aside from the one period of high heat it's been cold and rainy here. So foliage diseases, both bacterial and fungal are happy happy.

Have you looked at some disease sites as I sugggested? At the top of this page the Pest and Disease Forum is linked to and when you go there you'll see a thread called Problem Solver.

The best two sites that I think are still there are the Cornell one and the TAMU one.

With no yellow halos around the spots I'd take a good look at Bacterial Spot which does have black somewhat necrotic soft lesions at some of the leaf margins and internally on the leaves as well/

Hope that helps.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Coconut_Head(5b)

I have been washing myhands after dealing with that guy. Now that it's out Hopefully this will all be acedemic. I'm a couple hours west of you but it's certainly possible it was the same storm, and yes, it's been cooler and damp the last few days.

My oneida county extension offices are Cornell Cooperative and actually a few of my facebook gardening group members are Cornell staff. I have looked through thier material pretty well. With no pictures looking exactly like what I had, I was trying to read the descriptions. I wish I had something better than my cell phone to get good pics with, then I could have taken some nice pics. All the ones I tried with my phone didn't have enough detail to really see the damage. The spots were pretty small.

CH

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 3:11PM
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