Heavy spring rains in Arkansas lead to fungus that kills tomato plants

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. Heavy spring rains in Arkansas have resulted in a fungal disease that destroys tomato plants.

Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service pest management specialist Jackie Lee says late blight has been found in 14 counties in central Arkansas. She says about three plants are typically seen each year with the disease, but that 20 infected plants have been diagnosed this year.

Lee said the disease starts at the bottom of the plant and works its way up, rapidly killing the plant. The first sign is a brownish gray tissue on the leaves.

Lee says infected plants should be burned, or placed in plastic trash bags so the spores can't spread.

Counties affected so far are Clark, Lee, Hot Spring, Independence, Boone, Conway, Dallas, Garland, Bradley, Clark, Pulaski, Grant, White and Dallas.