Why Tomato Crops Today Are So Susceptible to Diseases

Why Tomato Crops Today Are So Susceptible to Diseases

Clemson Plant Pathologist Tony Keinath was recently named as a columnist for American Vegetable Grower. Dr. Keinath’s first article was recently published featuring tomato disease. Check out an excerpt below.

Bacterial spot is one of multiple tomato pathogens to be aware of. Susceptibility is linked to genes for large fruit and high yield.
Photo by Zack Snipes

Why are tomatoes so susceptible to disease? Of three possible answers — aggressive pathogens that specialize on tomato, the tomato plant itself, or the growing environment — it’s not the pathogens.

For example, early blight and late blight can be equally destructive on tomato and potato. Phytophthora blight and fruit rot is worse on pepper than tomato. Is there something about the tomato that makes it inherently susceptible, something medical doctors call a congenital defect? Or is it weather conditions during the growing season? The answer seems to be both. Continue reading…

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