If tomatoes had anthracnose, can they go in compost?

Maynard, MA

I'm pretty sure that one of the 4 varieties of tomatoes I planted had anthracnose. They were sick and inedible at any rate and looked like the anthracnose pics in the Vegetable Gardener's Bible. Normally, when I do fall clean-up, I put veggie plant remains (stalks, leaves, chipmunk-chewed fruits, etc.) in the compost. But, if I put the anthracnose tomatoes in the compost and then later use the compost in the garden, will I be spreading anthracnose via the compost?? Or, will the composting process somehow kill the anthracnose?

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I wouldn't I don't put any of my veggie plants in the compost pile. I've found that I have less bugs and I've always been told to burn or throw out veggie plants especially tomato plants. I wouldn't take the chance.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

I wouldn't do it, especially if there's any chance the compost will be used on tomatoes. If nothing else, unless you're absolutely sure the compost got hot enough to kill them, you'll likely be spreading hundreds of tomato seeds - and they are from a variety susceptible to anthracnose.


Central, TX(Zone 8b)

It's OK to put healthy vegetable plant matter in the compost bin - NOT diseased plants of any kind or weeds that have mature seed heads! Compost piles that don't go through heat cycles of at least 165 degrees can harbor disease spores and viable weed seeds.

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

According to the Univ.of MN, compost piles do not get hot enough to kill anthracnose.

I don't use any diseased plant material in my compost pile at all. Even things which technically will get killed in the compost process may not get killed in *my* compost process, and the disease pressure is too high here to do anything which helps the disease along.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Optimally, if you had the space, time and energy, the best solution would be to maintain several compost beds so that you would be putting the vegetable compost on the ornamentals or fruit trees and vice versa. You'd still need to keep track of potential cross-infection - some might surprise you - but it would be a better solution. Alternately, some people have reported success with worm beds. A vibrantly healthy organic medium and intelligent, thoughtful approach can sometimes solve problems that the government-sponsored organizations don't think of. Not a knock on them - they are working within a different framework, that's all.

Maynard, MA

Thanks for your great, informed, thoughtful responses. Now I won't feel guilty trashing the stuff.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I never put my tomato plants in the compost, I ALWAYS bag and trash them. Even in years where they look like there is no blight on them. Tomato plants just get too many fungal deseases why risk spreading any?

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I burn mine in an old grill ,dirty , effective, about the same as the bugs!!lol

If the ashes seem clean enough those go into compost or soil I won't be using and a few of the flowers enjoy it.

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