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Old August 1, 2021   #1
jhouse
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Default removing diseased plant mid season question

Hi all,

I have spots on most of my cherry tomatoes (on the fruit not foliage). My other tomato plants are not affected so far.
My county's cooperative extension thinks it looks like bacterial spot -- (a member here thought it looked like anthracnose) -- and suggested removal of the plant to prevent spread.

What is the best way to remove this plant with minimal risk of spreading this to my other plants? They are in a straight row, about 5 feet between plants. I used weedblock so there is lawn at the edge, so almost no soil is visible -- should I cover the diseased plant with a large bag (I have one for Christmas Trees so will fit over the plant) and cut it off at ground level?

If I pull it out of the ground, that will bring soil to the surface and if the soil has disease, seems like it could spread to the other plants that way? Or if I cut it and leave the root in the ground, would the root grow more disease?

Thanks for any thoughts -- I'd like to know what you more experienced gardens have done to safely remove diseased plants

Jan H.
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Old August 1, 2021   #2
PaulF
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A photo may help to get some extra opinions. Anthracnose is a fungus and does come from soil borne pathogens. To help prevent getting in the first place it is wise to mulch around all plants to discourage soil splash onto the leaves and stems. Allowing good air flow by caging plants is a good idea. For mulch I use a couple layers of newspaper on the ground and adding about 6 inches of straw on top of that. Some use landscape fabric or plastic or even a thick layer of grass clippings.

When removing the diseased plant, pull the whole thing up root and all and discard to the trash. Remove all leaves, fruit and roots. The pathogen is already in the soil so no more or less will be there when you pull the plant. Just be sure none of the affected plant touches healthy ones.

Lawn to the edge of the plants is like mulch, but still soil will splash onto the plants. Overhead watering will also make fungal disease worse. Applying fungicides will help delay the disease. There are several that work.
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Old August 1, 2021   #3
jhouse
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thanks Paul. I avoided mulch this year because last season I gardened, I used straw and had an explosion of voles. They loved it. Apparently they also appreciate mulch, so I used the weedblock. Watered with a soaker hose under the weedblock (I'm always fighting EB so careful about that.)
But, we've had much more rain and wind and high heat/humidity here in SW Ohio so that is the challenge this year.
The spots on the tomatoes is a new one -- just looked like freckles but as the fruit ripens they do turn into depressions. It's a shame as the plant looks healthy otherwise, leaves are fine, lots of fruit, but you can tell all the ripening fruit on that plant has the same issue.
The plants were from an unknown source (long story), I wonder if the seed was contaminated with whatever the disease is.
I guess I can just pull it and then place more weedblock over the hole so less splashing from the soil. I'll post a pic of mystery freckles.

This tomato didn't look bad, but the riper they are, the more the spots look like little depressions.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ifo...ew?usp=sharing

Last edited by jhouse; August 1, 2021 at 05:10 PM.
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Old August 1, 2021   #4
PaulF
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Anthracnose can be carried by affected seed. Bacterial spot or speck is not much better. I would still remove the plant to keep from infecting the healthy plants.
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Old August 2, 2021   #5
jhouse
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Well we removed it. Used a giant Christmas tree bag to cover the plant, leaving it in the cage, cut the stem (leaving enough for a 'handle") took the plant/cage/bag thing away from the garden and teased it out of the cage while in the bag. Removed the root and covered the dirt with weedblock.

It's tempting to salvage the ripe cherry tomatoes from it (still tasty), but thinking I might spread the spores or whatever in the house and infect the remaining plants, so I should probably just let them go.

Part of me thinks I'm overthinking the whole thing (it reminded me of Covid and being super germ conscious), but at least I'll know I did what I could do, if the remaining plants get diseased.
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