Every year when gardening I come across the tomato blight. It’s super annoying and can really do damage to your tomato plants in the garden. Tomato blight is a fungus that hits nightshade plants. So in this article, I got five different ways that you can try to treat tomato blight, plus one tiny bonus tip at the end. Let’s go.
What is tomato blight?
Blight is a fungal disease that primarily affects tomatoes. Other nightshade plants, such as peppers and potatoes, can also be affected by the fungal disease. But when it comes to tomatoes, it’s a different story. I couldn’t tell you how dangerous the blight can be.
Now, I started with 70 plants, and ten of them died as a result of blight. Now, in order to treat the tomato blight, we’ll need to understand fungus and how it grows.
Fungus thrives in warm, damp, humid, and contaminated environments. If you reside in one of those regions, you have a perfect habitat for the fungus to thrive, which is the source of our problem.
Knowing how fungus grows and what kind of environment it prefers may provide further insights as to how we may combat the fungal problem as a whole. As soon as you start seeing yellowing leaves and little brown spots in your leaves that’s it. You already have early-stage blight.
Early-stage blight is a moment when we really need to strike it hard because if you let it go too long without doing anything about it, it will progress to end-stage blight, which is death.
If you don’t take care of the early-stage blight, it will eventually progress to late-stage blight, which will result in mortality. Your plant will no longer be viable, and you will need to remove it entirely.
5 Simple tips to treat tomato blight
This leads me to the first tip, which is to prune your plants. The reason we want to prune our plants is that it serves a dual purpose.
- One of them is that we want to promote a lot of airflow and circulation, which will help with the humidity issue.
- The second reason you’d need to prune your plants is to widen the gap between the soil and the leaves.
Because the fungal disease resides in the soil, you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of space between the leaves and the dirt. As a result, the most pruning you can do at the plant’s root.
As the tomato plant grows, it will produce leaves on the top, but we want to keep the leaves off the base. At the bottom of that, you don’t want anything.
Because I’m having blight issues, I prune at least a third of my plant at the base. The more space, the better.
2. Watering from the bottom
Watering is the next suggestion for dealing with your silly blight inside the yard. What you don’t want to do now is water from the top.
Don’t sprinkle, don’t do any of that stuff. I know it’s going to rain, but we can’t control the weather; we can, however, control how we water our plants, which is exactly what we’ll do.
We want to keep the amount of water on the leaves as low as possible. All of the water that comes into contact with the leaves spreads the fungal spores, causing blight to spread across the surrounding plants.
Now, if you’re trying to water from the bottom, you can use a little container or something similar.
However, if you have a large number of plants, such as I do, irrigation will be necessary. You can now use a garden hose instead of irrigation, but depending on how many plants you have, irrigation may be necessary.
You can now send the water directly to the stems and roots, avoiding all of the leaves on top, and minimizing the number of blight spores spread, by using irrigation tubing, or a garden hose.
3. Blight leaf pruning
The next step in dealing with that annoying blight in all of your plants is to remove all infected and dead leaves as well as dead plants. I realize this seems similar to the first time you pruned, but they’re for two separate reasons.
Any signs of dying or dead leaves, you have to remove them immediately. That is not something you want to be around. So, if you have a dying plant, pull it out completely.
If your plant is failing or on its way out and still has some tomatoes on it, simply yank the tomatoes; you can eat them green or wait till they are ripe.
4. Neutralizing sprays to treat tomato blight
I have two sprays that I blend and use to treat tomato blight. This does not stop it, but it slows it down.
A liquid copper fungicide is the first option. You would dilute this one according to the instructions. It actually comes in blue color. This one you mix in, dilute with water, then spray on your plants.
It interferes with the ph and then just makes it neutral. The only concern is that it starts to burn the leaves the next day. It crisps up through your leaves, turning them from golden brown to crispy brown.
So it’s effective, but if you use too much of it, you’ll see some crisping up of your leaves the next day.
The fungal spray is now in the other water bottle. I’m not going to go straight for the leaves with this one. So I just spray from the top and let it mist over everything. Because I know it can burn the leaves and can be too strong for the leaves themselves. As a result, I’m very gentle with it.
Your fungicide was considerably too strong if the leaves on your tomato plants seemed somewhat more brown, toasted up, and jacked up than they did the day before.
Use it when there is less sunlight because of clouds. The plants will actually burn if they receive a lot of sunlight while having fungicides on their leaves.
Baking soda is the alternate choice. You will simply be combining baking soda and water when utilizing the baking soda spray. I do use a tiny bit more baking soda than water.
When it comes to baking soda, I use something like a four-to-one ratio. I did see that the fungicide burns the plants less than the following day does. As a result, you’ll see that baking soda performs significantly better than copper fungicide. The fact that it isn’t as potent as the fungicide is the only drawback.
Therefore, it’s kind of a case of picking your battles; if you want something much lighter than the fungicide, try baking soda. Peroxide can also be used on plants, according to what I’ve heard, but only after being diluted. Always keep in mind that the key is to modify the fungus’s alkalinity or ph.
Now I’m adding at least 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda. I know I added a lot, but this really does work and it won’t hurt your plants. I don’t see any evidence of the baking soda scorching the leaves in any way.
5. Covering soil
Covering the ground below the tomatoes. I currently have a straw bale. With the ground cover, this will be a massive one that will be really effective.
However, I have weed fabric before I even lay that on the ground. I’m using this stuff to first cover the entire ground in my garden beds, and then I’m using straw bale to add a top layer of protection.
Wherever your tomatoes are in your garden bed, we need to cover every square inch of that area. We must cover it with a substantial material that can endure copious amounts of rain.
The blight’s enemy is rain or any other type of top-down watering. My presumption is that you won’t be watering your tomato plants from the top anymore. We must therefore be concerned about the rain. Mother Nature’s rain is something we cannot control, so we must make the best of it. This is where ground cover is useful.
Another justification for maintaining the pruning is that as the water drops onto the earth, it subsequently splashes up on the leaves. Remember how the fungus spores just start to spread everywhere, and we don’t want that.
Therefore, I’m going to cover the entire garden bed with this weed fabric by cutting it to size. Following that, I’m going to cover it with some straw.
The straw should be able to absorb most of the moisture from rain or other sources, but it won’t get beyond the weed fabric.
I realize how much labor that takes for tomatoes. I’m telling you that living an organic lifestyle is not simple, but we do reap many rewards from doing so. With these five suggestions in this article, I sincerely hope we can manage and save the remaining tomato plants.
But you know what, some of them might pass away in the end, which takes me to the extra tip. Congratulations if you have read this far. The fantastic piece of advice in this is that you can use propagation to keep your tomato plants from dying totally.
Bonus tip to treat tomato blight: Propagation
One of the simplest plants to propagate is the tomato plant. Really, it is quite straightforward. All you have to do is climb up to the still-green top of your plant.
The plant you’re going to chop off needs to be completely green and free of any blight symptoms. If your tomato plants are deteriorating and you know they will eventually die, you should consider propagating them.
You can just put the tomato plant in the ground. Although it will appear to be lifeless, trust me, it will come to life. Just continue to water it as usual. You can actually dip it in some root hormone powder to speed up the process; that also works great.
You don’t need the root hormone powder, but it will certainly make life easier for you and raise your chances of, well, having some root development.
Even water can propagate plants far more quickly than soil after a few days to a week. Just leaving it in the water is all you did, as you can see. Don’t forget to change the water periodically to encourage oxygenation of the water, and there you have it. After that, you’ll be able to apply this to the soil.
FAQs to treat tomato blight
What is a natural remedy for tomato blight?
Compost extracts or teas can be used as a treatment in organic gardening. To make a prevention and treatment solution, combine a tablespoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of vegetable oil, and a little amount of mild soap in a gallon of water and spray it on the tomato plants.
Can you eat tomatoes from a plant with blight?
The tomato fruit is not poisonous, but blight makes it inedible because it does not ripen and rots soon.
Does tomato blight stay in the soil?
Spores of blight can live in the soil for three or four years. Tomatoes should only be planted in the same bed every three to four years, and tomato waste should be removed and burned in the fall.
How do you treat tomato blight in the soil?
The idea is to solarize the soil to kill the germs before they reach the plants. Turn the entire bed to a depth of 6′′ as soon as you can work it, then level and smooth it out. Dig a 4-6′′ deep trench around the entire bed and thoroughly saturate the soil by slowly running a sprinkler over it for several hours.
Does baking soda stop tomato blight?
Baking soda contains fungicidal characteristics that can prevent or slow the spread of early and late tomato blight.