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Tomato – Bacterial Wilt

Bacterial wilt on tomato. Photo: Dr. W. Nishijima

Bacterial wilt on tomato
Photo: Dr. Wayne Nishijima

Problem

Sudden wilt and death of entire plant with no leaf yellowing.

Description

Symptoms of bacterial wilt include rapid wilt and death of the plant without leaf yellowing. If you cut the stem of the plant, there’s a brown gooey substance inside. This disease persists in the soil for years and infects plants by entering through wounds in the roots.

Bacterial wilt, tomato stem. Photo: Dr. W. Nishijima

Bacterial wilt affecting tomato stem, vascular discoloration
Photo: Dr. Wayne Nishijima

Information

Control

Bacterial wilt is difficult to control because it persists in the soil for years. Control by rotating crops. Avoid planting any solanaceous crops in contaminated fields (solanceous plants are in the nightshade family and include eggplant, tomato, pepper and potato.) Disease can be spread through use of tools and machinery.

Look for bacterial wilt resistant varieties of tomato, such as Kewalo and BWN-21, both developed by UH-CTAHR.

Bacterial wilt on eggplant. Photo: Dr. W. Nishijima

Bacterial wilt on eggplant
Photo: Dr. Wayne Nishijima

Bacterial wilt on eggplant. Photo: Dr. W. Nishijima

Bacterial wilt on eggplant
Photo: Dr. Wayne Nishijima

Kendal Lyon, Hawaii Island Master Gardeners