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University of Illinois Extension

First Confirmation of 'Late Blight' in Illinois from Winnebago County

September 9, 2013

Late Blight, Phytophthora infestans, was confirmed in Winnebago County on tomato on August 30, 2013. This is the first report of Late Blight this year in Illinois with the closest incident reported in Racine County, Wisconsin the first week of August. "Late Blight can cause devastating damage including yield loss" says Grant McCarty, University of Illinois' Extension Local Foods and Small Farms Educator for Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties." "It has the ability to spread very fast among crops like tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. Late blight conditions first show up as water soaked lesions on the leaves. Fruit may also become infected overtime."

Disease management of Late Blight includes disease scouting and preventive fungicide spraying. Once Late Blight is diagnosed, infected plant material should be destroyed. "Prevention is certainly the key for growers to manage disease before the season begins. Practices can include crop rotation, removal of diseased plants/leaves, weed/insect pest control, sanitize and clean tools used in production, and planting disease resistant varieties." McCarty continues that "by utilizing many of these on a regular basis, a grower can prevent many of the diseases that affect both cool and warm season crops."

For more information on Late Blight and disease prevention, visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw/ or contact the U of I Extension office in your county: Jo Daviess 815-858-2273, Stephenson 815-235-4125, and Winnebago 815-986-4357.

Source: Grant McCarty, Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms, gmccarty@illinois.edu

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