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Old July 2, 2019   #1
jhouse
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Default Preventing disease transmission between plants

I was just wondering what other people do, when working with their tomato plants, to prevent spreading disease from plant to plant?

I know I shouldn't work with the plants when they are wet, and I use a jar of alcohol to dip pruners in, but what about hands?

In the past I've used Clorox wipes. . just interested in what anyone else is doing
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Old July 2, 2019   #2
bbjm
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I'm interested in responses. I spray my pruners with a bleach spray between plants. I try not to touch the plant with my hand or clipper handles, but that can be very hard to do. If the plant is obviously diseased -- I've gotten early blight the last 4 years and had speck or spot disease on one plant (a Sungold) last year -- I carry a damp paper towel with Dawn on it to wipe my hand between plants. I'm careful not to prune wet plants because I read on here that disease will readily transfer to wet leaves.

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Old July 2, 2019   #3
slugworth
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Lack of weeding because of the heat, I have grass growing around the plants that is starting to get tall (the kind you have to mow)
and noticed the grass is getting diseased instead of the plants.I will collect grass clippings to mulch instead of the growing grass eventually.
That was interesting.One year the grass grew really tall and was taller than the plants,we had a frost and the grass protected the plants from the frost.
Some of the plants are crowded like a jungle,the rest have the proper spacing.
No sign of blight yet but I did see some SER stem end rot where the stem dries up and the tomato falls off.1st time I ever had that.
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Old July 3, 2019   #4
zipcode
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One can prune with just gloves. I don't use pruners (I do actually, to harvest, since those stems on beefsteaks are usually super hard to break otherwise). It's mostly bacterial wilt or fusarium that one has to worry about. If those are not in your area you can pretty much do what you want, leaf diseases will spread just fine anyway in the right conditions.
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Old July 3, 2019   #5
brownrexx
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I use pruners to remove branches with Early blight and I never disinfect the pruners or my hands. The spores are spread through the soil anyway so I just cut off the offending branches and dispose of them.

I have never noticed that I was spreading EB. Some of my plants seem to get it and sometimes ones right next to them don't. Sun Sugar is always the first one to show EB.
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Old July 3, 2019   #6
jhouse
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That's interesting Brownrexx!
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Old July 3, 2019   #7
brownrexx
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jhouse when I am pruning I am cutting the branches with the affected leaves. I am not actually touching the leaves where the spores may be located. The way I see it, the branches themselves have no blight so why would I need to disinfect the pruners?

I try to be careful not to shake the cut branches around in case they are bearing spores, but that is all that I do.
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Old July 3, 2019   #8
jtjmartin
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I prune most of the time with my bare hands but rarely cleanse them. If I need to use my pruners I carry a pair and squirt the blades down with a Clorox mix in an old Windex spray bottle and let them air dry.

Seems to work.

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Old July 4, 2019   #9
Old chef
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I have a large bottle of hand sanitizer. For both hands and pruners

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Old July 15, 2019   #10
jhouse
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thanks all. I've settled on Clorox wipes and/or isopropyl alcohol in a jar for pruning blades. I might seem overly concerned about blight but have had a bad issues with it in the past.

Even with our wet/warm/humid conditions, so far no blight. I haven't gardened in maybe 3 years, and this year sprayed early & regularly with chlorythalonil, (hate to spray but I know how bad it gets). Also pruning for ventilation. I even planted my row in different direction to catch the wind for each plant, since it usually blows from one direction, thinking the leaves drying more quickly might help.
So perhaps the blight had a chance to die out of the soil after 3 years, or the preventative measures worked. . .

I'm preparing myself to see some blight at some point, just being realistic, but so far so good. It's nice to get this far into the season without it anyway.
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Old July 15, 2019   #11
bower
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I try to pick a dry sunny day to prune, and do it early so they have a few afternoon hours for the pruning cuts to dry, especially if I have to prune large stems.
If I have to prune off diseased leaves I use a bucket or bag to get the sporey parts down into before moving down the row. Getting them out of a tight space, it's important to have it contained. I use my hands to take off leaves and don't worry about sanitizer unless I put my hand right into the spores (which I generally avoid doing).

Same with pruners, I will avoid cutting into a rotten or diseased part, instead prune above it, if at all possible - in this case I don't bother to sanitize them between cuts either.

If I have to prune large stems (as opposed to suckers, branches, leaves) I always dip the pruners in household bleach before cutting. I found that it made a big difference to getting the cut to heal without developing any mold or blight. Even a healthy stem has a much better chance to heal clean and stay healthy (in our humid climate) if the cut is with freshly dipped pruners.
We don't have bacterial blight though, which I hear is easy to spread by hand. In that case, hand sanitizer of some kind makes sense.
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Old July 21, 2019   #12
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I use the Joe Gardener method of alcohol (he uses a spray but I use wipes) and briefly heating with a lighter. The process hasn't failed me yet.
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Old July 28, 2019   #13
Guavatone
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Thanks for bringing this question up Jhouse. I got to the brink of frustration with my diseased plants so I started paranoia protocol of spraying pruners between plants with diluted bleach. I think it’s better in my situation. Also, started washing my hands more between plants and putting leaves in trash bag. But, I think I was creating more disease by overspraying and creating a damp environment.

Are there diagrams that show the spore sites on plants?
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Last edited by Guavatone; July 29, 2019 at 02:51 AM.
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Old July 29, 2019   #14
jhouse
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Shatbox, isn't that a bit dangerous with alcohol and flame?

A damp environment is a problem for sure. I'm trying to be realistic this year, without getting too paranoid about things. Was blight free and just saw a tiny bit on one plant yesterday -- I snipped it and got it out of the garden. I know where my situation goes if I do nothing, and probably had a lot in my soil from not spraying in the past. Considering our wet/humid spring & summer, I seem ti be doing something right this year to have kept it at bay so far. We'll see what happens.

I do think i've over pruned, my plants still look okay (if sparse) and will probably forgive me. I guess this is my year to learn to prune for ventilation, which sounds simple enough until faced with a tangle of green and trying to figure what's going on. I saw some videos where folks were not pruning their grape/cherry tomatoes, kind of thought about that until mine exploded into crazy growth.
Now I'm on those "suckers"
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Old July 29, 2019   #15
jtjmartin
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I've changed too over the last couple of years. I'm bagging all my tomato and squash debris - everything else is composted.

I have Clorox sprayed my pruners between plants for years now - but was not so hot at washing my hands much in the garden. Now I disinfect them with alcohol lotion in the garden.

Thanks to T-ville advice!
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