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Tomato and potato plants in danger with airborne disease found in some WNY counties

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Posted at 8:56 AM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 08:56:55-04

N.Y. (WKBW) — Late Blight has been detected in Cattaraugus, Allegany and Genesee counties on August 16th according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Late Blight is an airborne disease that devastates tomatoes and potatoes. It is best known for causing the Irish Potato famine.

Late Blight is caused by a fungus-like organism that spreads dozens of miles on storm fronts.

The disease can kills plants in just one week. Disease spots that are dark gray and brown are left on the plants and can become as large as a quarter. Small fuzzy white spores are left on the underside of the leaf in wet and humid conditions. Tomato fruit may also develop large, greasy-looking, brown, gray, or black smears on the upper part of the fruit. Late blight does not resemble yellowing leaves with lots of small black specks that are worst at the bottom of the plant.

As this disease is aggressive and very damaging to area farmers, Cornell Cooperative Extension asks that anyone suspecting they have late blight please contact their local CCE office for assistance. In Chautauqua County, the office can be reached at 716-664-9502. Commercial vegetable farmers may contact the Cornell Vegetable Program at 585-406-3419.