'Late Blight' Is Showing Up Early Due To Wet June

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A wet June has ruined the tomato crops and caused financial peril for growers in parts of New Jersey, thanks to a disease called “late blight.”

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, the blight, while called “late,” has shown up early due to wet conditions.

“This disease is specific to potatoes and tomato crops,” said Meredith Melendez of Rutgers University Cooperative Extension.

She said it is already confirmed in one location in Mercer County, and several others in South Jersey.

“It starts on the leaves, and then it progresses onto the fruit so that the fruit becomes unsellable,” Melendez said.

Growers are now forced to spray, or face a risk of the financial nightmare of a ruined crop.

She said the damage can “affect their ability to get any money back at all from that time and energy and money that they put in.”

Melendez said the hot, dry spell now in progress is actually good for farmers to help stop the spread. But she has advised backyard gardeners to keep a lookout for the fuzzy disease.

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