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Bacterial Wilt in Tomatoes

What is bacterial wilt?

Bacterial wilt in tomatoes, as the name suggests, is caused by a soil borne bacteria. The bacteria infects plants from the solanum family, a group that has a wide range of economic vegetables. The most affected is the tomato followed by potatoes but the bacteria also affects pepper plants, egg plants, nightshade or locally known as managu, tamarillo (tree tomato) and sometimes tobacco.

Patrick asked: how can i deal with bacteria wilt on my tomato farm?

Alex suggested: Wilt is a soil borne disease caused by the bacteria. Treatment and prevention.

1. Remove infected plants and soil.
2. Turn the affected plant
2.plant in containers or raised beds.
3. Rotate crops
4.control pests
5.minimize crop injury
6.improve soil
7.keep garden weeded
8.plant resistant varieties

The answer from Alex is quite detailed,short and informative. When growing tomatoes as a farmer you ought to be sharp and know how to diagnose the disease before it becomes devastating.

How do you diagnose bacterial wilt in your tomato crop?

First observe the crop, early symptoms are wilting of the youngest leaves, this is especially so during hot conditions and high soil moisture level. This can easily go unnoticed because the leaves stay green but eventually the entire plant wilts and dies.Under less conducive conditions, wilt and decline will be slower, and numerous adventitious roots often form on the lower stems.

You can diagnose bacterial wilt by cutting the stem at the base of the plant. Look for discolored tissue. Suspend the stem in a glass of water. If it is infected, a white, slimy substance will ooze into the water within just a few minutes.

Treatment and control

There are no effective chemical controls. When the plants die, the pathogen is released into the soil when the plant starts decaying, so it’s important that you remove diseased plants immediately. Do not compost the diseased plants burn them instead.

So how do you prevent bacterial wilt?

Good cultural controls are best.

Rotate your crops regularly away from host plants which could include all of the nightshades (tomatoes, peppers and eggplants),sunflower, tree tomato and potatoes. Give the land a break of at least 3 years for the bacteria to die out.

Improve drainage and control root knot nematodes that weaken plants, leaving them more susceptible to disease. Space plants far enough apart to provide good air circulation. Good spacing will also control other fungal problems due to proper aeration.

Have your soil tested and maintain a pH of 6.2-6.5, which is ideal for growing tomatoes; the bacteria thrives in soils with a high pH so practice cultural practices that lower pH like use of organic manure.

Observe hygiene and wash your hands after handling infected plants and sterilize any gardening tool that could have been used in infected soil.

Running water and infested seedlings can inoculate a clean field, to counter this, plant your seedlings in a clean nursery bed then practice irrigation methods like drip irrigation and using pipes instead of surface irrigation like furrowing.

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