Control Tomato Disease and Pests with Summer Field Sanitation

Time spent now on field sanitation will pay back in healthier tomato crops and fewer headaches in the season ahead.

Nobody likes to clean up, but when it comes to disease and pest prevention, field sanitation is an important part of season wrap-up. Think of it as the first step of an integrated pest management program for the coming season.

Prompt crop destruction and field sanitation will immediately end production of disease inoculum and insects to help avoid the spread of diseases and pests to other host plants. Diseases such as downy and powdery mildew can only grow on living host tissue, so removing diseased plant material is key to avoiding ongoing problems.

Plowing under infected plant debris covers inoculum, speeds plant tissue disintegration and kills pathogens, says Shine Taylor, DuPont Crop Protection field development representative in Florida. “Remember to destroy cull piles, too, since they can harbor insects and disease.”

Destroy tomato vines to kill whitefly populations and prevent transmission of tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) to future crops and to eliminate inoculum from late blight and other fungal disease. “Currently, the only management options for TYLCV are sanitation, a crop-free period and whitefly control. A two-month crop-free period also breaks the life cycle of other key pests, including pepper weevil, tomato pinworm and thrips,” he adds.

“Time spent now on field cleanup will pay back in healthier crops and fewer headaches in the months ahead.”

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