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Fusarium Wilt of Tomatoes

Identifying and Controlling Fusarium Wilt

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Infected Tomato Plant Wilting

Tomato plants infected with Fusarium wilt will usually begin wilting from the top down. They may recover in the evening, but eventually the whole plant with wilt and stay wilted.

FL Div. of Plant Industry Archive, FL Depart. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

Fusarium wilt (foo-zair-ee-um) is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici. Fusarium wilt is found worldwide and even resistant tomato varieties may be affected. The fungus is soil borne and makes its way into the plant through the roots. Once inside, it clogs and blocks the xylem, the tissue that moves water and some nutrients through the plant, preventing water from traveling up the stem and out into the branches and leaves. It may not kill your tomato plants, but they won't be very productive.

Species of Fusarium can infect many plants including: potatoes, peppers, eggplants, legumes and bananas.

Symptoms of Verticillium wilt can be very similar to Fusarium wilt.

What Causes Fusarium Wilt?

The Fusarium wilt pathogen is soil borne and can remain in infected soil for years. It can also be carried and transmitted in multiple ways, like:

  • infected seed
  • seedlings from infected soil
  • the bottom of shoes
  • shovels and equipment used in infected soil
  • infected soil blown into the garden

Ideal conditions for Fusarium wilt include warm, dry weather and acidic soil pH (5.0 - 5.6)

There are tomato varieties that are resistant to fusarium wilt, but if they are weakened by root-knot nematode, they become more susceptible to it.

Plants infected with Fusarium wilt will be stunted and the earlier they are infected, them more severe the stunting.

Keep reading for more photos and descriptions of Fusarium Wilt symptoms and how to control it.

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