Disease: Early Blight of TomatoPathogen: Alternaria solaniHost: Tomato, Lycopersicum esculentum
Tomatoes are among the widest grown crops grown in gardens throughout the world. Nearly every garden in the US has a tomato plant or two because they are easy to grow and because they are so widely useful in the kitchen. One of the most common diseases of tomato is early blight. This disease is caused by a fungus, Alternaria solani, and it can be devastating to commercial producers who have many plants and to homeowners who may have just one or two plants. It is very hard to control and can lead to death of the plant if not managed properly. Homeowners can protect their gardens most easily by buying healthy seedlings at reputable markets. Minimize moisture on leaves by spacing plants and removing weeds. Water the plants when they will dry quickly and try to water the soil surface only. Clean up any infested debris at the end of the season. Try to plant tomatoes in a different area of the garden each year.