Lets learn about how to manage and treat Early Blight!
Identifying Early Blight in Tomatoes
Early Blight is a fungal infection that is very common in Salt Lake. If caught early, this fungal disease need not be fatal to your tomato plant. Be on the lookout now for brown “bullseye” rings with yellow halos on the lower leaves of your plant, as the disease starts at the bottom of the plant and travels upward. We’ve seen Early Blight at the Grateful Tomato Garden, Green Team Farm, gardens of our WCG staff, as well as some of our community gardens. Here are some photos of what Early Blight looks like on a tomato leaf:
Treatment of Early Blight
All affected foliage should be pruned off with sanitized pruners and thrown in the trash. Re-sanitize pruners after pruning each affected plant. Carefully dispose of any infected foliage that’s fallen on the ground under the plant.
Consider applying copper soap fungicide (certified for use in organic gardening) and be sure to follow all label instructions. You will need the product as well as a spray bottle to apply it correctly. Below, see photos of two options that are available locally.
This fungal disease may reappear on your plants next year, so be prepared to treat your plants early with copper soap fungicide, or with another organic fungicide as long as the label states that the product is effective against Early Blight (Alternaria).
Avoid planting tomatoes in the same spot each year if at all possible. Planting only healthy, vigorous seedlings into properly-amended soil, minimizes stress on the plant through proper cultivation and fertilization techniques and can reduce the instance of early blight.
We teach all of these methods in our tomato, soil and fertilization workshops! Be sure to check out the full listing here.