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Friday, July 03, 2009 

Bubonic Plague for Plants?

Blight is hitting the Right Coast, hard.
Tomato plants have been removed from stores in half a dozen states as a destructive and infectious plant disease makes its earliest and most widespread appearance ever in the eastern United States.

Late blight -- the same disease that caused the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s -- occurs sporadically in the Northeast, but this year's outbreak is more severe for two reasons: infected plants have been widely distributed by big-box retail stores and rainy weather has hastened the spores' airborne spread.

The disease, which is not harmful to humans, is extremely contagious and experts say it most likely spread on garden center shelves to plants not involved in the initial infection. It also can spread once plants reach their final destination, putting tomato and potato plants in both home gardens and commercial fields at risk.

Meg McGrath, professor of plant pathology at Cornell University, calls late blight "worse than the Bubonic Plague for plants." - AP via Yahoo Finance

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