Bacterial wilt is the most common disease found in tomato plants. It is very common in moist sandy soils and humid environments like Kerala. It spreads through wounds, soil and implements. Bacterial wilt is also common in areas with a high soil pH.

Bacterial Symptoms

  • Rapid and complete wilting of normal grown up plants.
  • Lower leaves may drop before wilting.
  • Infected plant parts when cut and immersed in clear water, a white streak of bacterial ooze are seen coming out from cut ends.

How to control?

Taking preventive measures are the most effective way to prevent the disease.

  • As the plants die, the bacterial pathogen is released into the soil, so to prevent the spread of bacterial wilt, remove diseased plants as soon as you notice wilting.
  • Wash hands and gardening tools after handling infected plants.
  • Make sure the water basin around the plant is well drained.
  • Rotate your crops regularly.
  • Space plants out evenly to improve air circulation.
  • Test soil and amend to a pH of 6.2 to 6.5 for tomatoes.
  • Temporarily avoid growing tomatoes in areas where the disease has already been detected.
  • Cultivate varieties like Mukti, Anagha, Manulakshmi, Manuprabha, Akshaya and Vellayani Vijay which shows high disease resistance.

What are the best chemical treatments?

  • Saplings should be soaked in a Pseudomonas solution (20 gm per liter of water) for half an hour before planting.
  • It is also advisable to soak the saplings for half an hour in the Streptocycline solution before planting.
  • Before planting the saplings, the field can be ploughed (for aeration) and add bleaching powder at the rate of 10 gm per cent.
  • In case of infection, one per cent Bordeaux mixture or three grams of Copper Oxychloride or one gram of Streptocycline mixed in six liters of water – any of this can be sprayed at the bottom to control the disease.
  • Bacterial wilt can be treated by spraying Pseudomonas solution (20 gm per liter of water) once in two weeks.

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