Proper Disposal for Blighted Tomato and Potato Plants

August 24, 2009

Nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato. Unfortunately this year many gardeners are losing their tomato plants to something called "late blight'. It is important for gardeners to know how to properly dispose of tomato and potato plants infected with late blight.

"Gardeners whose tomato and potato plants have been infected with late blight should not put the diseased plants or fruit in their home compost bins," Madison recycling coordinator George Dreckmann said. "Home compost bins do not usually generate enough heat to kill the blight spores. In fact, home compost piles can provide the idea wintering place for the spores, protecting them from freezing temperatures. This means that your home compost could spread the disease to next year's crops."

There are two ways to properly dispose of plants infected with late blight. First, you should place the diseased plants in a plastic bag and let it sit in the sun until the plants are clearly dead. You can then put the bagged plants in your tan refuse cart or bring them to one of the City of Madison yard waste drop off sites.

Plants brought to our drop off locations will be composted at the Dane County compost sites," Dreckmann said. "These compost piles will reach temperatures high enough to kill the late blight spores."

For additional information about disposing of late blight infected plants or garlic mustard call 267-2626 or visit www.cityofmadison.com/streets.

Contact:
  • George Dreckmann, 267-2626