Early Blight and Matt's Wild Cherry

Manchester, NH

I'm in New Hampshire, and today, while I was excessively tending my growing tomato plants, I noticed my Matt's had some no-no spots on its bottom leaves. I clipped them off, zapped everything in the area with Daconil, and took the leaves inside to compare to internet pictures. It looks exactly like early blight, although the concentric ring thing would be more subjective.

Funny thing is, of the 6 or so varieties I've planted this year, Matt's is the only one with these spots. Matt's is also the only one to be listed as resistant to early blight. It's been hot (90's) and humid the past week or two. I water them every couple of days in this weather, as they are on well-draining soil in raised, improved beds.They are mulched with cedar and I judge whether or not to water them by the cucumbers next door which are quite obvious when they need water, and as long as the tomato dirt isn't fairly moist. I have them up on a Florida weave setup, but some leaves had been touching the mulch/possibly dirt. I water at the base only.

I'm also growing black cherry, black krim, brandywine, bonnie's original, and orange blossom, all in one row.

On a separate note, my black krim is scaring me with curling leaves on the growing tips. The leaves otherwise look healthy.

Do you guys think the diagnosis is more likely wrong, or that the internet descriptions are wrong? :) I'm all in the waiting-for-tomato frenzy so pretty much I just want to talk about them. :D

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

I don't know of ANY variety, OP or F1 that's resistant to Early Blight, so where did you read that Matt's Wild Cherry is resistant to it? Whatever, it's wrong.

There are a couple of varieties out there, mostly bred by Dr. Randy Gardner, that have moderate tolerance, no such thing as resistance, to Early Blight ( A. solani) but all it means is a bit of help for commercial farmers so that they can spray maybe every 7-8 days instead of 4 to 5, which is a huge savings for them.

If you look at Johnny's, who introduced Matt's, you'll see next to its name that it's a cerasiforme, which means that it's NOT a currant variety, rather, it's a half domesticated cherry tomato, and in my experience the true currants ( S. pimpinellifolium) usually are more tolerant fo foliage diseases. And one might find that interspecies hybrids , now stable, such as Sara's Glapagos also are quite tolerant of folliage diseases as well/

Am I making sense here? It's awfully hot and humid again this AM and I'm at the point of thinking that some of my brain cells may have been cooked. LOL


Edited to add that now I think of it the one time I grew Matt's I can't remember if it was or wasn't a bad year for foliage diseases, all I know is that I didn't like the taste of it. And I think I remember reading that you said none of your other plants had foliage diseases, if I go back to check, I lose this post, which makes the probability of just one variety, one plant, having a foliage disease a long shot at best.

This message was edited Jul 16, 2012 5:29 AM

Manchester, NH

Thanks for coming in, Carolyn!! Here is what I was talking about vis-a-vis Matt's and blight: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ie=UTF-8&ion=1#hl=en&gs_nf=1&gs_mss=matt's%20wl&tok=M37h0OXbT3-oZAUGmTOAgA&cp=31&gs_id=f&xhr=t&q=matt's+wild+cherry+early+blight&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&oq=matt's+wild+cherry+early+blight&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=158101d518659935&ion=1&biw=1443&bih=852
As you can see, the immediate listings all corroborate the idea that Matt's is early blight-resistant.
Your input is obviously superior and I thank you so much for commenting here in my "dreaming of my tomatoes" thread. :D

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

I like this link from your Google search:


No, my input is not superior to anyone elses but I'm having problems understanding why only Matt's of the varieties you're growing has what you think is EB.

Fungal spores are equal opportunity pathogens, spread by wind and rain, unless by splashback infection from a previous year which isn't important here since none of your other varieties are infected, and I just can't see them landing on you Matt's and not on your other vareities. ( smile)


Manchester, NH

Thanks, Carolyn, that's a nice link.

I went out today to photograph the evidence and noticed that the two little tomatoes that were nearly ripe had been thieved away! Grr. A half-eaten green one was left as evidence on the ground. Then I finally put two and two together regarding the black krim which just happens to have a chipmunk hole at its base. I have a feeling there's going to be a rodent massacre in a particular location in the near future.

Here is a picture of the leaf spots that are only on that one plant. Overall it looks healthy, just a few leaves at the bottom so far are affected. I know, I'm obsessed. :D

Thumbnail by funbot
Manchester, NH

I wanted to mention that after reading a bit more about breeding and tomatoes (and genetics), I understand more of your first post and appreciate it that much more. I still need to do some more reading to get the most out of the link you supplied, but I'm well on the way, so thank you very much for taking the time, Carolyn! Tomorrow afternoon promises even more tomato inspection, with a sprinkling of rodent murder.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

If it's just leaves at the bottom of the plant that speaks more to splashback infection from previous tomato plants being infected with EB and the spores being shed to the ground. If it were a new infection the top leaves would be infected as well.

What you show is definitely fungal in nature, probably EB.

Have any of your plants in previous years had Early Blight?

If so it still wouldn't explain then only ONE plant being infected by splashback as I see it/

Did you raise that plant from seed or did you buy the plant somewhere and are you sure it's Matt's and I ask b'c the form of the leaf you show just doesn't seem right to me, although it could be the photo at such a high magnification that's confusing me. YOu should be seeing a flat truss of very small fruits at this point so is that what you see?


Manchester, NH

Well, the thing is, this is the first year I tilled up this strip and planted in it--before that, it was just half-grass, half-weeds (mown regularly). I've only ever grown tomatoes before on a high deck, in the largest-sized pots you can get at a Home Depot, etc. So, it's all new for me at the moment. :D I don't know if it's the same fungus, but I can say that certain plants in the perennial/annual beds sometimes get attacked with what looks like fungal spots, depending on weather patterns. So I'm not terribly surprised to see some damage, I just want to stay on top of it since I want these particular plants to last as long as possible. :)

As I think about it, one or two days before I noticed this problem, I actually hosed off my Black Krim. At the time, I didn't realize that chipmunks eat roots, so I didn't suspect the chipmunks as a problem. I also knew my neighbor had sprayed a little bit of roundup and was more paranoid about that causing the leaf-curling, so I hosed it down out of desperation. But none of the other symptoms of Roundup poisoning have surfaced, just curled leaves, as if it were trying to conserve moisture. Perhaps spraying it down is what splashed up some fungus on the leaves of its 2-doors-down neighbor. I only just recently started cropping off the bottom leaves, since I finally felt the plants were large enough not to miss them, so some leaves were actually on the ground.

I bought all of these plants at a local nursery, and they all were stressed by a rainy spell before I finished making the bed and got them in the ground. Several started out quite unhappy but all but one (the only determinate) look quite happy now.

The fruits on the Matt's are pretty small, like a small cherry but larger than a berry ;), but I'll get you some better pictures tomorrow. :)

Manchester, NH

Here are the pics of the fruits and leaves. I got all of these at a nursery, so there could easily have been a mix-up. :)

Thumbnail by funbot Thumbnail by funbot

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