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Cornell Cooperative Extension Educates Public on Late Blight

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A devastating plant disease that led to the Irish potato famine in the 1800s can still affect crops that are being grown today, right here in the Southern Tier.

Wednesday evening the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County presented "What You Need to Know About Late Blight" to educate the public on recognizing symptoms and prevention methods of the disease. Late blight is a pathogen that can affect the leaves, stems, fruit and other parts of both tomatoes and potatoes. It's considered a "Community Disease" as its spores can spread approximately 30 miles by wind.

"This can be quite devastating. It spreads very quickly and kills the plants. Phytophthora infestans translates into 'plant killer.' So it could be very devastating for home growers, but particularly devastating for a commercial grower," said Horticulture Program Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension Linda Svoboda.

Those with questions or concerns about late blight can visit www.usablight.org for more information on the plant disease.