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Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

Posted by alanleveritt 7 (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 13, 10 at 15:49

Grape farmers in Napa raise organic grapes using only sulphur spray. Unlike Napa we have terrible heat and humidity in Arkansas but I was wondering, if I started an early and consistent program of spraying wettable sulpur on my tomatoes and soil, if that would hold back early blight and other fungal diseases? I garden organically.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

Certainly worth a try - with care. Those of us who use Daconil and similar products to prevent fungal diseases find that an early and regular application program is the key to success so the same should hold true for the organic applications. At least for fungi, bacterial diseases are another matter.

However I would suggest you consider using one of the copper & sulfur combo sprays rather than just plain sulfur. Copper is an effective fungicide and bactericide and it will also reduce the risks of burning the plants associated with straight sulfur.

Per ATTRA: Coppers are labeled for anthracnose, bacterial speck, bacterial spot, early and late blight, gray leaf mold, and septoria leaf spot. Sulfur is labeled for control of powdery mildew.

Sulfur by itself is a minor fungicide in tomato production. Sulfur can easily burn the plant as air temperatures rise. It also has mild insecticidal and miticidal properties which may reduce the predator/parasite complex keeping pest insects in check.

Hope this helps.

Dave


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

digdirt, good advice.
Where can you get this copper/sulfur combe spray/powder? Any brand name, store that sells them?

Last year I used NEEM OIL, with some additives. Also water + milk + baking soda combo. Did not have major mildew or othe problems. So basically all organic.

I also share my opinion, and that is :DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOUR PLANTS BECOME DISEASED. SPRAY/TREAT THEM REGULARLY FROM EARLY ON SO THE FUNGI OR OTHERS WILL NOT HAVE AN EASY CHANCE TO GET STARTED ON YOUR PLANTS.This is very important, for example, about powder mildew.


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

Alan, the grape farmers use sulfur for powdery mildew which can be a big problem with grapes.

Spraying anything on the soil, as you mentioned above, is not going to help with what are called the systemic diseases, which infect plants via the roots. Since you're in CA I don't know if you have Fusarium and/or Root Knot Nematode problems which both can be found in many areas of CA.

So what you're really speaking to are the foliage diseases, I guess, and the four most common ones are:

Early Blight ( A. solani)
Septoria Leaf Spot
Bacterial Speck
Bacterial Spot

So an antifungal can help with the top two but not the bacterial ones.

My own feeling is that if one wants to use something organic that a copper containing product is best, sulfur really isn't all that effective.

If you garden near the coast and have what's called the June glooms then one or both of the powdery mildews that can affect tomatoes can be a foliage problem as well.

Using compost teas or milk just hasn't worked out for most folks based on feedback I've seen online.

As Dave mentioned above, many folks use Daconil, which is perhaps the best antifungal out there for the tomato fungal folliage diseases, and many alternate Daconil with a copper product for the bacterial foliage diseases. Daconil is also good for powdery mildew.

The backup anti-fungal for Daconil at many disease sites is copper, so I guess that's what I'd do if I were you.

Do you know which specific tomato foliage diseases you have where you are? Again, no antifungal sprayed on soil is going to do anything for the systemic diseases.

Daconil is not organic, but it has roughly the same low toxicity that Rotenone has and Rotenone is considered organic by almost all organic certifying agencies that I know of. Daconil can also be sprayed up to the day of harvest, which also tells you that it isn't very toxic.

And of late some folks have been noting that too much copper sprayed allows for build up of Cu++ in the soil.

So for some it's a no win situation as I see it.

Carolyn


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

"Daconil is not organic, but it has roughly the same low toxicity that Rotenone has and Rotenone is considered organic by almost all organic certifying agencies that I know of. Daconil can also be sprayed up to the day of harvest, which also tells you that it isn't very toxic." [Carolyn]

I hope my comments do not initiate negative reactions as happened in the calcium spray/BER discussion, as that is not my intention here, as it was not my intention there.

This response also is not intended to start an anti-Daconil flame war. We've had enough of those already. I don't use Daconil, but I don't argue with it's effectiveness in appropriate applications within a sensible gardening program.

If the intention of the grower is to find an "organic" method of fungal disease control, then as Carolyn mentions, Daconil does not conform with organic gardening.

To say a product has about the same toxicity as an organic product does not make it organic gardening friendly. For example, Sevin and Malathion both have LOWER LD50, toxicity levels to humans, than Rotenone. That doesn't make Sevin or Malathion acceptable in an organic garden.

Again, I'm not strictly organic in my garden, I'm more "intergrated pest control" oriented with an emphasis toward "organic," but I just thought I'd point out that some organic-approved chemicals are more toxic to humans and the environment than some non-organic choices.

With regard to the sulfur question. Again, as I said regarding calcium spray for BER, one should be careful when applying agricultural products that might alter the pH of your garden soil to levels outside the desired range for a particular crop. When your soil becomes too alkaline or too acid, that binds up the essential nutrients and micronutrients and your plants will not flourish.

Sulfur is an acidifier. Quite an effective acidifier. Spraying any significant amounts of sulfur on your plants and onto your soil will lower the soil pH (raise acid level) and could affect plant nutrition.

Again, as with BER, fungal diseases in the tomato garden can be minimized and controlled by planting resistant (tolerant) varieties and practicing soil health, garden santitation and other cultural practices.


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

Bill you are right on! And the old argument that Daconil is less toxic than Rotenone doesn't apply to us organic growers who don't use either. When applying anything to the earth you should be diligent whether it's considered organic or chem IMO and soil ph like you brought up is a huge consideration often neglected. As to BER I've been 99% successful eliminating BER from my tomatoes by applying dolomitic limestone pellets once a year. Do the pellets act as a magic elixer in themselves? No. But when you garden surrounded by huge behemoth chem companies dumping and spewing their chemical grunge and grimy fallout into the atmosphere and rivers creating acid rain the limestone apps keep my PH correct and that is what keeps my plants 99% BER free. PH meters aren't that expensive. By taking the organic pledge I know I limit myself, Daconil would surely help my tomatoes I suspect, but feel better about myself and that's important to me.


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

Bill you are right on! And the old argument that Daconil is less toxic than Rotenone doesn't apply to us organic growers

****

I'm not trying to make converts with my Daconil comments and lets leave the toxicity comparisons out of it for now despite the fact that it isn't an old argument at all.

I switched from using Daconil to organic growing when I moved to this new area in 1999. However, with the horrible Late BLight outbreak that we had here last year I DID go back to Daconil b'c it was the product that was best in helping to prevent Late Blight. And I alternated it with Kocide, which is a copper containing product.

It was either do that or risk not having any tomatoes last summer.

So if you wish to wipe out my comments about Daconil, please do so, but Lord Help us if others start prolonging the thread re Daconil vs organic growing. Please do not.

There's a Forum here at GW which deals with that and I'm sorry I even brought up mentioning Daconil, but did after I saw Dave mention it first, ( wink to ya Dave)

Carolyn, who won't even mention the several organic farms in my area, all NOFA certified, who have chosen to abandon organic growing, not b'c of their own personal philosophies, rather, b'c of the loss of crops due to disease, and public unwilling to pay the higher price that organic fruits and vegetables seem to demand, especially in these economic times. But it should be recognized that their farms are their total income and that plays into it as well. See, I said I wouldn't even mention it. ( smile)


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

Yes, regarding the Daconil vs Late Blight plague in New England and Northeast. A friend proved to me that Daconil plus extreme pruning was all that saved his tomato bed in Connecticut last summer. Drastic conditions require drastic actions at times. I'm not wanting to start an argument in that regard :::smile:::

The issue in this thread is sulfur vs fungal diseases on tomatoes. My concern, as stated, is soil pH side effects. That's all.


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

The issue in this thread is sulfur vs fungal diseases on tomatoes. My concern, as stated, is soil pH side effects. That's all.

And it is an excellent point especially since so much of the AR soil tends toward the acidic side anyway, at least per the state's Master Gardener program it does, mine is very alkaline. And thus my point to use it with care and focus more on the copper based ones. Using the copper based organic sprays/dusts will not only be more effective than sulfur but less problematic in the long run.

Where can you get this copper/sulfur combe spray/powder? Any brand name, store that sells them?

Cyrus - AFAIK the combo is a make your own - bordeaux type spray. planetnatural.com details and offers the organic powders that can be mixed. And there is Actinovate, a relatively new fungicide which is (I think) organic gardening approved, but I don't know the ingredients off-hand. Bonide also offers sever different products that are sulfur and copper based and then there is Seranade (also organic approved I believe). But the folks on the Organic Gardening forum would likely know best and have more personal experience with them.

My personal preference is to not use any fungicide. Healthy well-amended beds and compost tea sprays usually works well for me or adding just a bit of copper dust to the compost tea. That's until last year, when I had to bring out the BIG guns or lose everything.

Dave


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

"The issue in this thread is sulfur vs fungal diseases on tomatoes. My concern, as stated, is soil pH side effects. That's all."

That's what I thought too. I have no idea why the statement that Rotenone is more toxic than Daconil has anything to do with the poster's question? He said he was organic. So now lets start singing the praises of Daconil? Like a missionary to the native? (SMILE)

Bill brought up soil Ph. I think of Sulpher and I think Ph adjustment. That's what I commented on and congratulated Bill on an excellent post, that's all...

Now NOFA farmers are brought in. It's their livelyhood! They have to make a much tougher decision than I do as a lowly backyard gardener and I would almost never question their decisions but for me it's much easier. And to all my beautiful GW Valentine friends here who are backyard gardeners like me and who shoot a little Daconil on their plants from time to time I mean no offense and accept your decisions to use a registered and legal product if that's your desire. Let's all get along! Happy Day of Love! (Peace)


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

No comment although I'm itching to respond to you. ( smile)

In the interest of Valentine's Day and Peace I'm going out to the front room and watching some of the Winter Olympics and nibbling on my fave dark bittersweet chocolate which I give to myself b/c my two cat kids just haven't proved to be adept at pushing the right buttons on the phone to order some as a gift for me.

Carolyn


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RE: Sulphur Spray For Tomato Funguses?

I hope someone can help me out.

I have 10 potted cherry tomato plants and the foliage started getting yellow spots then cracking. i went to my garden center and he gave me a copper/sulfur mix to spray on the plants.
I am only using a very small amount and i would like to know how often i should be spraying the plants and with how much (soak or light spray)
I hope you can help
Thanks

Brian


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