Late blight is a fungus-like disease that mainly affects tomatoes and potatoes in the nightshade family. It's important to be aware of this disease so you can act quickly if it infects your garden. Symptoms of late blight to look for include watery-looking spots on the foliage, sometimes with a white fuzzy mold, and brown greasy spots on the fruit. If you have late blight, it’s important to get your plants out of the garden as soon as possible to prevent spreading. Otherwise, prevention is key!
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In this episode, we discuss:
The similarities and differences between early blight and late blight
What to do if you discover late blight in your garden
How to prevent blight from affecting your plants
Early and late blight are both fungal diseases that live in plant debris and soil. It is hard to differentiate between the two diseases, although early blight generally comes on in the cool, damp weather conditions of early spring.
Early blight can often be managed by sanitizing your pruners and removing the affected leaves, while late blight kills plants quickly.
If you see one plant affected by late blight, you may be able to save the whole planting if you remove the affected plant quickly enough. It’s critical to kill any plants affected by late blight to prevent the disease from spreading. Put affected plants in a trash bag in sun to kill them, burn them, or, if you have a municipal compost system, you can compost them there.
Prevention is key; take steps to minimize the chances of blight appearing in your garden. Use drip irrigation, minimize leaf wetness, and space plants appropriately, including trellising and pruning for good airflow. Good garden clean up is also important - remove all leaves and roots, and practice crop rotation, particularly for the nightshade family.
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