We have demonstrated that petunias can carry the potato and tomato late blight pathogen, and thus petunias need to be surveyed for this disease to protect tomatoes in the same greenhouse.
Growers of tomatoes are particularly impacted. Because tomatoes and petunias are sometimes grown in the same greenhouse, it is important that petunias be inspected for this disease. While the disease is not particularly severe on petunias, we have demonstrated that infected petunias can initiate a severe epidemic on tomatoes in the greenhouse. Even if tomato transplants are subsequently planted outside, inoculation could have occurred in the greenhouse and the transplanted tomatoes could become severely diseased.
After demonstrating that petunias can be a source of the tomato late blight pathogen, we have published this information to growers of both tomatoes and petunias. We have also given talks at grower meetings to enhance their awareness of this possibility. We have also initiated investigations to learn how best to mitigate the effects of late blight on petunias.
To date, we are not aware of many changes, because the information is yet too new, and we are not yet aware of the changes in the industry.
- Private (e.g., commodity groups, foundations, companies)
- Federal Formula Funds - Research (e.g., Hatch, McIntire-Stennis, Animal Health)
- The work was sponsored by the Department of Plant Pathology/Ithaca, and by the department of Horticulture/Ithaca.
- Margot Becktell, Graduater student, Plant Pathology, Cornell University
- Margery Daughtrey, Senior Extension Associate, Plant Pathology, Ithaca Campus and Riverhead LI
- William Fry, Professor, Plant Pathology, Cornell University