With more than 60 million tons of tomatoes produced each year, the tomato has certainly positioned itself as the world's most popular fruit. The tomato fruit comes with many benefits that include its high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A and the presence of lycopene. This popular plant is susceptible to certain fruit diseases that may cause problems with gardeners. Quickly identifying and addressing the diseases can usually ensure a successful group.
Tomato Early Blight
The early blight fungal disease is a common predator of the tomato plant. Contrary to its name, early blight infects the mature foliage of the tomato plant before spreading to the younger tissue. Infected foliage will develop small, darkish areas that will deaden almost immediately after the spot's appearance. The spots are followed by the appearance of concentric rings around the infected area, enhanced with a yellow halo. As the disease continues, younger foliage will become infected, as well as the developing tomato fruits. Without immediate treatment, infected tomato plants will experience severe defoliation, rot and eventual death. Early blight is controlled and prevented with the combination of regular crop rotation, selective plant selection and proper irrigation and fertilization.
Fusarium and Verticillium Wilt
Fusarium and verticillium wilt are soil borne fungal diseases that infect the tomato plant through its root system. The fungus travels through the system, along with the water and nutrients, infecting the vascular systems and inner tissues. Generally, when the tomato plant begins to show signs of wilt, the disease has already ravaged the system. Systems of fusarium wilt include clearing of the veins, foliage yellowing and wilting. Verticillium wilt symptoms include paleness, discoloration and deadening of foliage tips and growth stunt. Vascular discoloration occurs with both diseases and both diseases result in the death of the plant. Tomato plants that have been infected with fusarium or verticillium wilt cannot be saved and must be discarded. Prevention of these diseases can be accomplished with regular crop rotation and the proper irrigation, fertilization and selection of the plant.
Bacterial canker is a serious disease of the tomato plant. This disease infects tomato seedlings, which usually display no symptoms until plants begin to mature. Symptoms result from systemic and secondary infections, and include foliage yellowing, wilting and collapse, dark-brown spotting, vascular streaks and weak branches. Infected tomato fruit will develop yellow and brownish spots that will swell, canker and develop an encasing white halo. The disease will spread rapidly throughout surrounding tomato plants and other susceptible vegetation. The disease will die with decomposing tomato tissue and can be controlled with regular turning of soil and crop rotation. Thoroughly sanitize garden implements after each use. To prevent spreading and cross contamination, never work the infected area when it is damp or wet.