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I have heard that some of my tomatoes have tomato blight. What is it and how do identify it? The leaves on the plants curl and then the plant dies. However, the fruit still sets and matures as the plant is dying.

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A

It is difficult to know without seeing a sample, but it sounds like Curly Top Virus. I will cut and paste in some information about it below. Contact me or one of the county offices if you would like a sample examined.

Curly top (CT) is a serious disease on tomatoes and other vegetable crops in the western states. This virus is harbored in weeds, such as mustard, and Russian thistle where it is found in rangelands and vacant
lots. It is felt that the beet leafhopper picks up the virus while feeding and transmits (vectors) it to cultivated plants. The warmer regions of the desert southwest provide a suitable over wintering area for the beet leafhopper, where they come in contact with the virus before migrating north in the spring. Once infected most plants will
die. There is no cure, but some control is achieved through using resistant varieties.

Posted on 9 Aug 2007

Rick Heflebower
Horticulture Agent, Washington County

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