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b54red July 12, 2010 03:31 PM

Fusarium wilt
As someone who has to deal with fusarium wilt every year in my garden I finally took the time to keep records this season and try many varieties to see the results. Almost all of my tomatoes eventually die from fusarium so I wanted to see which did the best and which did the worst. I now have the results from my early planting and have them listed below showing excellent tolerance down to poor tolerance.

EXCELLENT: Neves Azorean Red, Jetsetter, Gary O' Sena, Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Red, Ramapo and Floralina

VERY GOOD: Kosovo, Berkley Tie Dye Pink, Bill's Big Backyard, Pale Perfect Purple, Indian Stripe, Cabernet, Carbon, Black Krim, Moreton, Stupice and JDs Special C Tex.

GOOD to Fair: Caspian Pink, Red Siberian, Mortgage Lifter, Royal Hillbilly, Limbaugh's Legacy, Rostova, Gregori's Altai, Druzba, Donskoi, German Red Strawberry, Old Virginia, Prudens Purple, and Aker's West Virginia.

POOR to AWFULL: Cowlick's Brandywine, Cuostralee, Stump of the World, Golden Ponderosa, Hege German Pink, Arkansas Traveler, Russian 117, Anna Russian, Aunt Gerties Gold, Costa Rica, Delicious, Mrs. Benson, Green Zebra, Cherokee Green, Costuluto Genovese, Heinze 1370, Momotaro, Orange Heirloom, Noire de Crimee, Paul Robeson, Reif Red Heart, and Rutgers.

This is not all the varieties I have planted. Some were only planted a month or so ago so I need to let them grow longer to see how they do. I am also planting more varieties for fall. If you have a constant problem with fusarium wilt in your garden I would try some of the tomatoes in the first two groups and see if you get good results as I did this year. I would love to hear from others in the south who have to deal with this problem and hear which varieties have shown the best fusarium tolerance for you.

Timmah! July 12, 2010 04:03 PM

Thanks for the information b54red. For some perspective-ballpark-how many plants of each did you set out to ascertain these results?

nctomatoman July 12, 2010 05:30 PM

Interesting to see how different varieties fare with the same diseases differently in different areas.

Those on your poor to awful list that do pretty well to very well in my Raleigh Fusarium farm are Stump of the World, Hege German Pink, Arkansas Traveler, Cherokee Green, Orange Heirloom, and Reif Italian Red Heart. Druzba does very well, as does Aker's WV, from your middle category.

Gary O'Sena struggles here, as does Mortgage Lifter, Gregori's Altai, German Red Strawberry, Old Virginia and Prudens Purple.

Of those we share experiences, Paul Robeson and Green Zebra are essentially impossible for me to grow well, even in bleached pots with sterile mix.

shelleybean July 12, 2010 07:44 PM

Very interesting. I had always wondered how Pale Purple Perfect would deal with Fusarium with Ozark Pink as a parent. I'm happy to see you got good results.

As for Stump of the World, I have to agree with Craig. It's done well for me when combined with Rootshield. In a good season, it can be a tomato machine for me.

Thanks for your results, guys! Good info!

Lee July 12, 2010 07:45 PM

Perhaps we've got two different fusarium races at work here.
My two deaths this year are Grizzly F4 and Zelovo, although
the latter is hanging on for dear life...


b54red July 13, 2010 01:50 PM

Shelly, I have a Stump of the World doing great in a new bed created from an old flower bed that doesn't have much fusarium.
Every single plant in that bed has done good while the same ones in the fusarium infested beds do poorly. My rating was based only on the plants in the fusarium infested soil.

nctomatoman, I am rating them by how well they produced despite fusarium. I planted 3 AWV and only one has produced more than 3 fruits but they were very large. The Druzba produced 8 med sized fruit. The Mortgage Lifter only produced 7 fruits but they were very large. My Gary O' Sena which is almost dead now made the biggest plant in my garden and has make over 20 tomatoes the largest was 23 ounces and the smallest 10 and there are over a half dozen yet to be picked. The Gregori's Altai died fairly quickly once symptoms occured but it made a whopping 25 tomatoes between 10 and 15 ounces. My Old Virginia is still producing and I have already picked 22 nice tomatoes off of it.

Timmah, I planted only one of some like Orange Heirloom, Arkansas Traveler, and Druzba. I planted two of Prudens Purple and German Red Strawberry. I planted 3 of Hege German Pink, Akers West Virginia and Reif Red Heart.

These ratings were determined more by the ability of the plant to produce new fruit and hold long enough for existing fruit to finish growing and ripen than number of tomatoes produced. Some of the ones listed in the lower two rating categories made a good number of tomatoes but died very quickly after showing the first symptoms. I had to cut off a wilted main stem of my NAR a month ago and it is still setting new fruit and standing over 8 feet tall and still has a good number of large tomatoes on it.

Next year many of these may do just the reverse but some will not get the chance like Break O Day, Reif Redheart, Costa Rica, and Cuostralee.

hasshoes July 13, 2010 02:40 PM

Wow- thank you for taking the time to share this great info. :)

Timmah! July 13, 2010 02:45 PM

Definitely will try a couple of each in the top 2 categories & see how they fair. Only disease other than speck & spot for me so far has been one plant in the raised bed getting southern blight. I removed it, dug up & bagged the soil on a 16 inch radius 5 inches deep, drenched the remaining soil in the area with Exel that day & sprayed the soil enough with your recommended bleach solution the next day to penetrate a couple inches. When the season is done, I will turn the soil to bury any remaining reproductive bodies (they can't survive when buried) & solarize for good measure.

rsg2001 July 15, 2010 06:31 PM

I stopped growing oxhearts (e.g., Anna Russian) because they did poorly when my garden had rampant fusarium problems. Caspian Pink was just as bad. Knock on wood, the problem has lessened in the last several years, probably because of not repeating varieties that succumbed, and partly because of Rootshield. I also use Messenger which seems to keep most of my plants robust at least for the first half to two thirds of the season.

b54red July 16, 2010 08:57 AM

rsg2001, you might want to give Kosovo a try. Even though it eventually fell victim to fusarium it was one of my best producing tomatoes this year and one of the best tasting. My Caspian Pink produced 16 tomatoes between 10 and 14 ounces before it died so it was not nearly as bad as some. I had only a few hearts do well but the ones that did will certainly be replanted next year. I would say besides NAR that the heirlooms that withstand fusarium the best are the so called black or dark tomatoes but they seem more susceptible to some type of foliage crud that is fairly easy to control with my Clorox solution spray. I plan on planting more of the dark varieties next year because of the success I have had with them this year. I have used Rootsheild on every plant that has been set out since mid June and some have already died from fusarium so I don't know if it is helping or not.
I set out 38 plants the 24th of March and of those 7 are still hanging in there but just barely. Of those 7 survivors only 3 are heirlooms and they are NAR, Andrew Rahart, and Gary O' Sena. All three of the heirlooms are first rate in production and taste but I don't think the Andrew Raharts Jumbo Red is true because of the 30 or so tomatoes to come off of it so far the largest was only 8 ounces. The 4 hybrids are Jetsetter, Moreton, Ramapo and Floralina. I will definitely be replanting Ramapo and Jetsetter but not Floralina because of taste and overly firm fruit. The Moreton is one I am not sure of because it produced ok but many were very small and the plant has looked bad for 6 weeks but still has hung in there continuing to produce some fruit that to me aren't that remarkable tasting.

Timmah! July 16, 2010 09:30 AM

Hey B54red, perhaps you should try Myco Grow Soluble instead of Root Shield. Rootshield contains: [I]Trichoderma harzianum. [/I]

[I]Myco Grow Contains: [/I]
[I][B]Endomycorrhizal fungi [/B][I]Glomus intraradices, Glomus mosseae, Glomus aggregatum, Glomus clarum, Glomus deserticola, Glomus etunicatum, Gigaspora margarita, Gigaspora brasilianum, Gigaspora monosporum [/I][/I]

[I][B]Ectomycorrhizal fungi [/B][I]Rhizopogon villosullus, Rhizopogon luteolus, Rhizopogon amylopogon, Rhizopogon fulvigleba, Pisolithus tinctorius, Laccaria bicolor, Laccaria laccata, Scleroderma cepa, Scleroderma citrinum, Suillus granulatas, Suillus punctatapies[/I][/I]

[I][B]Trichoderma [/B][I][U]Trichoderma harzianum[/U], Trichoderma konigii[/I][/I]

[I][B]Beneficial Bacteria [/B][I]Bacillus subtillus, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus azotoformans, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus pumlis, Bacillus thuringiensis, Bacillus stearothermiphilis, Paenibacillus polymyxa, Paenibacillus durum, Paenibacillus florescence, Paenibacillus gordonae, Azotobacter polymyxa, Azotobacter chroococcum, Sacchromyces cervisiae, Streptomyces griseues, Streptomyces lydicus, Pseudomonas aureofaceans, Deinococcus erythromyxa[/I][/I]

[I]Perhaps the diversity of 41 different strains of bacteria, fungi, & Trichoderma will be more of a help. Worth a try anyway, especially for the price.[/I]


b54red July 16, 2010 06:49 PM

Timmah, it may be that these products only help where fusarium wilt infection is minor. That is not the case in my garden. The build up of my soil over the years has helped more than anything else. I used to never get a heirloom to the ripe fruit stage and could only grow the hardiest hybrids 10 years ago. My production this year was terrific with some varieties while others that seem more susceptible did nothing but wither and die. Next year I will be planting a much higher percentage of varieties that have shown good tolerence to fusarium. I had to try a lot of varieties to find the ones that do the best but I think it will be worth the trouble. I may try some more of the miracle organic cures but I am fairly certain they will be no more effective than others that I have tried. I'm looking forward to seeing if planting more varieties that have proven themselves in my garden makes a big difference. I really think that planting the more resistant varieties will be much more effective than adding concentrations of spores already present in most good garden soil in a futile attempt to keep non resistant varieties alive.

hasshoes July 16, 2010 09:32 PM

I used Myco Grow soluble last year and despite a dark, cold, wet and usually rainy or foggy spring and summer (several of the darkest months on record since record keeping began- including February), all my flowers and hostas looked AMAZING. Myco Grow helped my plants grow through the often fatal "bacterial pith necrosis" and still become lovely and green- unfortunately the fruit (likely due to the stress of the disease) was vomitous-ly nasty.

I think Actinovate and Myco is to credit for the plants staying alive, unfortunately none were remotely edible.

I am however growing a few plants in the infected soil this year- again with Myco etc- and will let you know how the plants fare/taste under sunnier, warmer conditions.

KLorentz July 16, 2010 10:01 PM


POOR to AWFULL: Cowlick's Brandywine, Cuostralee, Stump of the World, Golden Ponderosa, Hege German Pink, Arkansas Traveler, Russian 117, Anna Russian, Aunt Gerties Gold, Costa Rica, Delicious, Mrs. Benson, Green Zebra, Cherokee Green, Costuluto Genovese, Heinze 1370, Momotaro, Orange Heirloom, Noire de Crimee, Paul Robeson, Reif Red Heart, and [U][I][B]Rutgers.[/B][/I][/U]


Funny you mention Rutgers.My Neighbor is growing Rutgers and seemingly has for at least the last three years. In his patch he has 6. The leaves droop dry up and turn brown. On the east side is where it seems the worst. Now he has 3 by the house.One in a Topsy Turvey and two in the ground. All three are doing fine.
Does this sound like fusarium wilt?


b54red July 17, 2010 09:47 AM

From everything I have read about fusarium wilt it is not usually a problem that far north.

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