Worms and Flowers

Big Box Stores Blight the Country

Posted in News by Lzyjo on July 21, 2009

I’m not talking about parking problems and increased traffic, I am talking about late blight being spread across the country by infected tomato plants sold a nation-wide retailers.

Professor of Plant Pathology at Cornell University, Meg McGrath called blight, “worse than the Bubonic Plague for plants.”

Blight is well-known for causing the infamous Irish Potato Famine in the mid 1800s. Despite its reputation as a potato-killer, tomatoes are actually more susceptible to the fast-moving fungal condition.

Scientists monitoring the advance of the fungal disease report this year’s infection has started earlier and has been more severe than years past.

We all know, this spring and summer has been unusually wet and cool, providing the perfect conditions for blight.

Right now infections have been found is almost all of the Eastern states, excluding, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and West Virginia.

The New York Times reported that Alabama-based Bonnie Plants recalled all of its remaining tomato plants on June 26. Bonnie, known for their peat pots, distributes their plants to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s from more than 60 greenhouses in 38 states .

The disease moves so fast, there are reports of entire fields of tomatoes dying over a weekend. Farmers are already talking about the price of tomatoes doubling from the squelched supply.

More articles on the Blight situation:

Associated Press “Plant disease hits eastern US veggies early, hard”

Albany Times Union “Blight like a nuclear bomb”

Albany Times Union “Big-box blight hits tomatoes”

New York Times “Outbreak of Fungus Threatens Tomato Crop”