HOW TO CONTROL MOSAIC VIRUS ON TOMATOES

Tomato leaf showing the signs of mosaic virus
How to control mosaic virus on tomatoes

Mosaic Virus on tomatoes is difficult to manage and can have a serious impact on commercial crops. So how do you control mosaic virus on tomatoes? 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.

Botanical illustration of mosaic virus on tomatoes
How to control mosaic virus on tomatoes
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.

Best practice is for infected plants and debris to be removed and destroyed in order to prevent spread of the disease to healthy plants. Rather than deal with the virus is better to deal with the causes of the virus so consider putting in place cultural, organic or chemical controls to reduce the incidence of biting insect pests which can quickly transfer the virus from plant to plant.

For related articles click onto the following links:
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