HOW TO CONTROL MOSAIC VIRUS ON TOMATOES



Mosaic Virus – There are a number of mosaic viruses that can affect tomatoes, and because they all look similar in appearance they have been grouped together under this one heading. The most commonly found are the potato and tobacco mosaic virus which will readily transfer onto tomatoes due to the closeness of their plant family groups.

Symptoms: Typically you will notice a yellow mottling on the leaf – usually found first on older leaves – and this is often accompanied by a distortion of the leaves and fruit. As the virus spreads the plants growth will become stunted, followed by the production of poor quality and yield of fruit. Infection from the tobacco mosaic virus will also causes wrinkling and light to dark mottling on the foliage. When cut open, the fruit shows browning inside.

Cause: These viruses are transmitted from plant to plant through infected sap. Biting insect pests such as aphids or thrips, take up the sap as they feed then transfer the virus as the move on to the next to plant. The virus can also be passed on via infected tools such as pruning knives or secateurs and - in the case of tobacco Mosaic Virus - simple hand contact.

Control: Mosaic virus is far more commonly found in protected crops where it can be spread through the contact by tobacco products or where plants from the Nicotiana family are being grown. If you are a smoker then you will need to make sure that your hands are washed carefully before working with tomato plants. Infected plants and debris must be removed and destroyed in order to prevent spread of the disease to healthy plants. You will also need to consider putting in place cultural, organic or chemical controls to reduce the incidence of biting insect pests.

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