Potato Late Blight Outbreak in Eastern North Carolina

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Potato late blight, caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, was reported yesterday (June 19, 2014) in a potato sample from Carteret County, North Carolina and confirmed by the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic and the Quesada Lab at NCSU (Figure 1). Symptoms appeared to be recent and limited pathogen sporulation was observed.

Figure 1: potato late blight

Figure 1: potato late blight (Saunia Withers, NCSU Vegetable Pathology Lab)

Potato and tomato are susceptible to this disease, and can be significantly defoliated within days if environmental conditions favor the pathogen. Active scouting and immediate action to protect potato and tomato crops in NC from late blight is recommended, since we have been experiencing wet and cool weather that is conducive to disease. For more information about potato late blight and how to control it see our potato and tomato late blight fact sheets, which list effective products against late blight. Control recommendations are also available in the USAblight website, where you can register to receive text and/or email alerts when new disease outbreaks are reported.

If you think you have late blight in your tomatoes and/or potatoes please contact your local Extension Agent and send photos and/or physical samples to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic. If late blight is confirmed in your samples by an expert, please send a report at the USAblight website to alert other growers. The USAblight website also contains information about disease identification and control.

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