Plant Diseases

Plant Disease Identification & Management

Controlling Tomato Leaf Spot Diseases
By Sarah Browning, UNL Extension Horticulture Educator

Image early blight on tomatoOur tomatoes are growing strong, and it looks like this will be a much better year for vegetable gardens than we had last year. Dry spring conditions have slowed the development of leaf spot diseases, but even with good weather we know that they inevitably appear. So now is a great time to inspect your plants for the beginning of leaf spot symptoms and prepare to manage problems at the first sign of symptoms.

Disease Identification
Common diseases of tomato include septoria leaf spot, early blight, bacterial speck and bacterial spot. All of these diseases overwinter in the vegetable garden on infected plant debris. The spores are spread during the growing season by wind, water and human activity.


IImage of tomato blossom end rotdentifying Blossom End Rot
By Sarah Browning, UNL Extension Horticulture Educator

Blossom end rot (BER) is a common problem of tomatoes, but is also found on peppers, eggplant, squash and watermelon. It appears as flat, dry, sunken, brown tissue on the blossom end of the fruit, opposite the stem end. The rot is first seen as a small, water-soaked spot on the base of half-developed fruits and continues to enlarge as the fruit matures. The size of the rotted area varies, but can cover 30 to 50% of the fruit.

On peppers, the affected area is tan and is often confused with sunscald, which causes a white lesion. Affected areas are often colonized by secondary fungi, which affect the remaining fruit making it unuseable. This problem is not an insect or disease problem, but is a physiological disorder associated with a calcium deficiency in the developing fruit.


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