The disease that destroyed many tomato and potato plants last year has been found on Long Island already this season. Due to the ease with which the pathogen is dispersed in the wind and the destructive potential of late blight, everyone growing these plants needs to work together to manage this 'community disease' and minimize its impact this year and in the future. Inspect plants right away for symptoms and at least once a week thereafter. Contact extension if symptoms are found: staff can diagnose specimens and alert other gardeners and farmers. Destroying affected plants is recommended because pathogen spores produced on these plants can be dispersed to healthy plants elsewhere, and without fungicide treatment affected plants often are killed outright, plus the pathogen attacks tomato fruit and potato tubers. Late blight can be managed with fungicides applied at least once a week starting before symptoms develop. Aggressive management this year will minimize the chance the pathogen is able to survive overwinter in the region.
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