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P.E.I. potato industry asks gardeners to be on the lookout for blight

Potato industry officials on P.E.I. are asking home gardeners to check their plants for a potentially damaging pest.

The Prince Edward Island Potato board said conditions this year have been just right for late blight.

It’s a fungal infection of the leaves and other greenery of a number of plants: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and most importantly, potatoes.

The general manager Greg Donald said there’s no blight detected on P.E.I. yet, and they’d like to keep it that way.

“Because this, potentially can be a quite damaging disease if it takes hold in a farm, and especially in a large commercial field.”

Late blight thrives in the wet conditions that characterized the late spring and early summer this year.

Donald said blight hasn’t been found on the island for years, but late blight is the same pest which caused the Irish potato famine, so they’re not taking any chances.

They’re asking anyone who suspects there might be late blight in their garden or field to contact Department of Agriculture officials immediately.

But what should people look for?

“Dark water soaked lesions on tomato leaves. Sometimes, if you flip over the leaves, you’ll see white spots, which are the spores of that disease.”

Donald said the best way to avoid blight is to buy blight resistant varieties of home garden plants, particularly tomatoes, or to grow them from certified seeds.

The planting is already done for the year, but Donald said vigilance will help stop any potential outbreaks from spreading.

Donald said the best way to deal with a plant that has late blight is to cut it off at the ground, put it immediately into a sealed plastic bag, and dispose of it.

For full coverage of Prince Edward Island news, visit our dedicated page. Top Stories

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