On the Lookout for a Destructive Plant Disease 

Tomato plants have been taken off store shelves in New England after the appearance of a destructive plant disease.But not before consumers may have bought them, which is causing concern. Late blight has been detected in Maine, putting crops at risk if the disease isn’t destroyed.Adrienne Bennett reports.”They really need to look out for this disease in their home garden.” “Lift up like this.” You don’t have to have a green thumb to get rid of late blight, you just need to know what to look for. Susan Anderson is a disease expert at Johnny’s selected seeds.”It’s water soaked lesions. There’s usually white furry looking sporulation. It’ll kind of droop.” Hundreds of tomato plants are growing at Johnny’s farm in Albion — late blight free, but it only takes one infected plant to spread the disease, which is most common in tomato, potato and eggplants. The wind carries the spores, spreading the fungus easily and rain encourages its growth. “It doesn’t help at all with fungal diseases. That’s why people are worried because of the weather pattern.” “Late blight was made famous in the 1840’s as the cause of the Irish potato famine. While the disease doesn’t pose a threat of famine today, it could ruin crops for farmers and gardeners unless they take action.” “We don’t want the disease to spread to our potato growers in the state.” Anderson urges anyone who detects late blight in a plant to destroy it. “When they see it, pull it out of the garden and put it in a bag and throw it into the trash.” Preventative measures can be taken too. “Johnny’s carries Kocide, which is a copper based fungicide they can spray on their tomato and potato plants.” While late blight can kill entire crops, the disease is no danger to people, so touching infected plants is not harmful.