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Late blight reappears in Long Island potato, tomato fields

Infected tip of a potato stem, with necrosis and sporulation on the stem, petioles and leaves.(Cornell University)
July 28, 2014
Late blight, a fungal-like pathogen that affects potato and tomato crops, has been confirmed on Long Island for the sixth consecutive year.

The first confirmed infection is estimated to have taken hold on June 13 in a potato field in the Riverhead area, with three more occurrences in tomato fields in the same area, most recently on July 17, said Meg McGrath, Cornell University plant pathologist with the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center, in Riverhead.

The disease in those fields "is fairly well contained," she said, thanks to the vigilance of farmers and their use of targeted fungicide, but it could also be present in other fields and area gardens.

Knowing the risk to their crops, farmers "are very much on top of it," McGrath said, but home gardeners are wise to become better educated. If their plants get infected, other gardens can be affected, as well as commercial growers and their livelihoods, she said.
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Cornell University is a private University located in New York State. The University has several research programs related to potatoes, in particular regarding potato diseases and variety development.