Devastating Crop Disease Detected Near Chautauqua County Spreads Eastward

Image courtesy: Pennsylvania State University.

JAMESTOWN – A devastating disease blamed for the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s that was recently detected in Erie County Pennsylvania has spread east.

Officials with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County report Late Blight was detected in Cattaraugus, Allegany and Genesee counties late last week.

Late blight is a devastating airborne disease that effects tomatoes and potatoes. The fungus-like organism spreads dozens of miles on storm fronts. The organisms can kill plants in just one weeks’ time.

Infected plants often have small fuzzy white spores on the underside of the leaf. They also have dark brown to black smears on plant stems, as if someone took a small muddy paint brush to the plants.

Tomato fruit may also develop large, greasy-looking, brown, gray, or black smears on the upper part of the fruit.

Cornell Cooperative Extension officials say the disease is aggressive and very damaging to area farmers. They ask anyone suspecting they have the disease to contact Chautauqua County’s office at 716-664-9502.


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