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Early Blight

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Donna Teasley
May 30, 2022

Hello, this is Donna Teasley, horticulture agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center.

With the recent abundance of rain we’ve had Burke gardeners should be on the lookout for diseases in the vegetable garden. Many vegetable diseases live in the soil and when hard rains hit, infected soil can be splashed up on to lower stems and leaves. The most common of these diseases is early blight. The most affected crop is tomatoes.

Diseases are funny things. You can prevent them and most times you can control them but you can’t cure them. Mulching around young transplants can prevent splashing water and soil from infecting plants but once early blight is detected on plants, the only recourse is to apply fungicides at regular intervals. Fungicides for early blight include mancozeb or fixed copper sprays. These fungicides should be applied at 7-10 intervals.

Early blight shows up as yellowing leaves and brown spots on lower leaves of tomatoes and peppers. It can also cause severe spots on the fruits. The disease starts at the bottom and makes its way up the plant. Formation of fruits will be severely reduced. Early detection and application of fungicides is the key to controlling early blight.

This is Donna Teasley with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. If you would like more information about this program you can give us a call at 764-9480.