Bacterial Wilt On Tomato – Streaming Test

Q: Do you think this is bacterial wilt on my tomatoes? Seemed to be totally healthy and then one by one they just wilt and not come back. I tried your wilt test.

A: Bacterial wilt is a soil-borne disease. It is very contagious to tomatoes, pepper and eggplant that are planted in infected soil.

Bacterial wilt is a common disease of tomatoes when soils are waterlogged and temperatures are warm. This soil-borne bacteria enters the roots when they are wounded or weakened by lack of oxygen.

Plants seem to gradually wilt while remaining green. They recover somewhat overnight but wilt more severely the following day. Some say it looks like the plant has had boiling water thrown on it.

The streaming I see from the cut stem is pretty conclusive: you have bacterial wilt!

There is no chemical that will eradicate it from the soil. The best cure is to plant non-hosts, like corn, beans or squash, in the spot for four years.

If you can’t wait that long, next spring excavate a hole 24 inches wide and twelve inches deep for each tomato plant. Fill the hole with a 1:1:1 mixture of fresh garden soil, soil conditioner and coarse sand. Fill the spot where you get the fresh soil with the diseased soil from your vegetable garden.

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