Late Blight Detected on Tomato in Home Garden in South Carolina

— Written By and last updated by Mary Lorscheider
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Late blight, caused by Phytophthora infestans, was detected on tomato in a home garden in Beaufort County, SC on April 11, 2016. All plants were destroyed.

Although tomatoes may not yet have been planted in the field in North Carolina, it is important to scout tomato plants in greenhouses and high tunnels, including transplants.

There is no need to begin preventative sprays at this stage, but be on the lookout for symptoms of late blight. If found, report any suspected plants to your county extension agent to send samples to the NCSU Plant Disease and Insect Clinic.

Late blight affects tomato and potato. The fungal-like organism does not overwinter in North Carolina, but it does survive in Florida and can travel up the eastern seaboard through transplants and air currents. Typically, the disease is not detected until mid-summer; however, if weather is conducive and the organism is present, disease may occur.

Symptoms include tan spots on the leaves surrounded by a light green halo. Spots may enlarge to encompass the entire leaf. Similar spots may occur on stems and fruit.

For more information, please see the plant disease fact sheets on late blight of tomato and potato below.

Late blight on tomato

Late blight on potato