Late Blight: It’s Back!

photo: Cornell University

A news release from the University of Connecticut has some sobering news for commercial growers and home vegetable gardeners: late blight has recently been confirmed in Connecticut.

Who can forget last season’s devastating outbreak, and the widespread destruction it caused.  The fungus- like organism, Phytophthora infestans, affected potatoes and tomatoes throughout the northeast, and there was a good chance it would overwinter. Now, it seems, it did.

For more information, including useful photographs of infected plants, go to the Uconn website.

Cornell University has an excellent fact sheet on managing late blight. Bear in mind, though, that “management” usually involves pulling up all infected plants, stuffing them in plastic bags, and throwing them in the trash, NOT the compost pile.

And finally, Cornell also has a good – but scary – map indicating the parts of the country where the most favorable conditions for late blight can be found. Click on the “late blight forecast model” link.

We all should be hyper vigilant with this pathogen, because its consequences are dire: total loss of affected crops. I will keep you informed of new developments, and I wish you all a blight-free growing season.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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4 Responses to Late Blight: It’s Back!

  1. Wendy says:

    i am looking for signs as well. THings usually end up going south (and I don’t mean towards Florida) at this time of year for me.


    • dirtynailz says:

      It’s been a hot and humid early summer here in RI, and even more so, I imagine, where you live. So I guess this is conducive to spore development.
      I was unaffected last year and my fingers are crossed now. Good luck!


  2. auntie beak says:

    cheese, louise! as if this year’s basil blight wasn’t enough to discourage all the italian food lovers in the garden!


    • dirtynailz says:

      I hear you, AB. Let’s just hope it doesn’t spread!
      For once I’d like a perfect growing season with the appropriate amounts of sun and rain, and no pests, diseases or blights. Wouldn’t that be lovely?


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