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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pythium in Tomato and Pepper

Yesterday I was in tomato and pepper fields looking at problems in both these crops. Tomato showed magnesium deficiency (interveinal chlorosis in older leaves). Some plants showed wilting, some dramatic, some wilting slightly. At first glance of inspecting roots they looked fine. When tugging on the outer covering of the roots they slid off incidicating Pythium root rot. Cutting open the stem at the base showed slight browning of the vascular system. The same root and stem symptoms were found in pepper. Growers admit with the heat and heavy crop loads this time of year they have been pushing water to keep plants going and to prevent blossom end rot. However, high amounts of soil moisture has made for favorable conditions for disease infection. Be sure to not over water crops. The use of soil moisture monitoring devices is so important to accurately irrigate fields. Nutrient deficiencies can also be induced from not having a healthy root system to uptake nutrients like Calcium and Magnesium and others.
Michelle Infante-Casella
Agricultural Agent
Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension, Gloucester Co.