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Late blight on a tomato. Photo: Kirsten Jennings via flickr, some rights reserved.
Late blight on a tomato. Photo: Kirsten Jennings via flickr, some rights reserved.

Late blight confirmed in St. Lawrence County

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Tomato and potato growers beware. Cornell Cooperative Extension has confirmed the first case of late blight in St. Lawrence County.

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David Sommerstein
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St. Lawrence County has its first confirmed case of late blight, the dreaded disease that can destroy tomato and potato crops.  It’s the furthest north the disease has been found since it showed up in Clinton County last month.

Paul Hetzler is horticulturalist for Cornell Cooperative Extension.  He says he’d heard rumors of late blight in the area, but nothing confirmed until he visited a farm Monday night.

Oh, sure enough, in Parishville, a very nice, neat garden there.  He had late blight.

Hetzler says late blight spores can travel dozens of miles in the air, especially on cloudy days.  He urges growers to take precautions.

If you have many green tomatoes left, still unripened, you might want to consider some options to protect them, because the late blight doesn’t just kill the vines.  It spoils the fruit, too.

Those options include spraying the plants with a chemical like Ridomil, if you’re a conventional growers.  Organic growers can use sprays that contain copper.

Hetzler says gardeners or farmers with questions or suspicions their plots may have late blight should call their local Extension office.

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