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Late Blight Threatens Mass. Tomato Crops

Tomato plant infected with late blight.
Carol Lollis
Daily Hampshire Gazette
Tomato plant infected with late blight.

Farmers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire are preparing for potential crop losses brought on by late blight, a fungus-like disease that quickly rots tomatoes and potatoes.

GAZETTE: Signs of late blight strike dread into hearts of tomato growers

The UMass Extension Plant Diagnostics Lab confirmed a case in Hampshire County last month.

Professor of Plant Pathology Robert Wick said the disease has been recurrent in New England since a major outbreak in 2009.

"It seemed as if there were a lot of diseased plants that came up from the South in the 'big box' stores," he said. "And then, from there, it moved very quickly to the commercial farms."

No further infections have been diagnosed by the lab, but Wick said there are likely unreported cases in the area. He said the recent cool, damp weather in Massachusetts has allowed late blight to thrive.

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