Early warning signs of light blight

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The University of Maryland's Home and Garden Information Center encourages gardeners to take these steps to help stop a serious plant-disease problem before it worsens:

-- If you grew potatoes last year, be sure to dig up and remove any potato pieces from that harvest, making sure to remove any volunteer potato plants. Do not plant store-bought potatoes or potatoes from gardens that had plants that were infected last year.

-- The center does not recommend that gardeners spray fungicides at this time. Don't treat plants with toxic pesticides unless you are absolutely certain what you are treating and that there's no alternative. Extension experts will recommend fungicide if they begin to receive reports confirming that the disease is active in home or community gardens.

-- Home and commercial gardeners should contact the center if they notice suspicious symptoms on tomato or potato plants. Call Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (800-342-2507 in Maryland, 410-531-1757 outside the state) or send e-mail through their Web site, http://growit.umd.edu. The site has images of late-blight symptoms and will provide updates through the growing season.

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