Canada: Growers asked to join the fight against late blight

Late Blight poster1-2015b.jpgPotato and tomato growers are being asked to help the effort to restore Alberta’s status of being free of late blight. “Everyone was encouraged to increase early and season-long monitoring of fields, gardens, and greenhouses in order to protect crops from late blight, as well as have a quicker response to any perceived infections,” said Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Monitoring of spore levels found increases in some regions, but no cases of late blight had been confirmed in Alberta as of late August. However, it is recommended all potato or tomato growers — both commercial operations and home gardeners — take steps to reduce the threat of the disease overwintering. This includes ensuring plants die down quickly by using a desiccant (diquat) or mechanical treatments and then disposing of stems and foliage, either by burial, freezing, or composting, said Spencer. More