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Viral infections in tomatoes and how to improve your harvest results

The viral infections of your tomatoes is preventable by using support netting

The agricultural practice of tutoring your crops with support netting makes the execution of preventative measures against viral infections and disinfection easier and more efficient.

Tutoring tomato plants with trellis net
Tutoring tomato plants using trellis net as a vegetable support system

Using HORTOMALLAS® crop netting to tutor your tomato plant

Throughout the history of growing the tomato, diseases caused by viral infections have caused great economic losses. Fortunately we now have methods to reduce the losses associated with viral infections by using HORTOMALLAS® crop netting. The scientific effort that has been directed at understanding the agents of diseases that cause these loss of crops has resulted in the identification and description of a large percentage of these pathogens. These days, this knowledge allows us to identify, prevent, and treat these infections and reduce the potential losses that they may cause to agriculturists. The majority of the treatments that can be used to combat these diseases are preventative, since it is always harder to fight an infection that has already occurred than it is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Tutoring tomato plants with trellis net
Using trellis net for tutoring, reduce the mechanical transmition of virosis in tomato

Important viral infections of the tomato cultivar

Black deathtomato spotted wilttomato spotted wilt virus

tomato spotted wilt
This is an example of tomato spotted wilt, that could prevent it using trellis net HORTOMALLAS

This example of the tomato spotted wilt virus could have been avoided if they had been using HORTOMALLAS® crop netting
The tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is a very destructive virus that can affect tomatoes as well as several other important crops. The virus causes the plant to reduce its productivity, reducing or stopping the growth of fruit before it eventually kills the plant, eliminating any opportunity that the agriculturist had to sell the crop on the market.

As the earliest symptoms of this disease are very hard to diagnose, the first observable symptoms that the agriculturist will notice in his plants will be dark streaks throughout the leaves of the plant, with the leaves of the plant becoming slightly cup shaped. This will stunt the growth of the plant and cause deformations in any fruit it grows. The deformation in the fruit usually takes the form of yellowish, annular bands. If the plant gets infected while in its juvenile state, the symptoms will be much harder to notice, but with careful observation, can sometimes be noticed in the leaves by the way they take a slight bronze coloration and a slight upward cupping shape.

Some of the plants that are commonly infected by this disease are: Celery, eggplant, peanuts, pea, hot peppers, cauliflower, endive, spinach, beans, lettuce, potato, cucumber, tobacco, and the tomato. There are also a host of wild plants that this virus can reside in if it does not find a suitable crop to infect.

The tomato spotted wilt virus is usually vectored by the thrips group of insects, but on occasion may take advantage of other vectors. The thrips that transmit this virus usually pertain to the genus Thrips and Frankliniella. They will become infected by the virus when they are in their larval stage, and then proceed to infect other plants once they have matured into adults. Another less common form for this virus to spread is from direct contact from one plant to another.

Tomato Mosaic Virus

Virus in tomato
This is how the tomato mosaic virus discolor the fruits, leaving them useless

This is how the tomato mosaic virus deforms the coloration of the fruit

The tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) and the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) can cause losses of greater than 10% of your planted crops. The primary method of transmission that the virus takes advantage of is a mixture of both mechanical contact, such as through either an insect or one of the workers that happens to be handling the plants, or through the direct spread to infected seeds which are subsequently planted. One very efficient method to reduce the spread of this virus is by using HORTOMALLAS® trellis netting.

These two viral infections will present very similar symptoms; the leaves will have alternating zones of that range from light to dark green (with a mosaic pattern), which has the effect of reducing the growth of the plant. Occasionally the mosaic pattern will not show up on the leaves, but the plant will still have be stunted in its growth. The virus will mostly but not entirely inhibit the growth of fruit, and the fruit that does manage to grow will have a distorted shape. Alongside the distorted shape, the fruit will also turn dark brown both internally and externally. The mosaic viruses have a large range of hosts that they can infect when they don’t have either tomato or tobacco to infect, some of which include: beans, tomatoes, hot peppers, grapevines, and potatoes.

Tomato spoon leaf disease

Tomato spoon leaf disease

This virus is called virus spoon, because it leaves the spoon shaped leaves

This tomato spoon leaf disease gets its name from the way in which it makes tomato leaves grow
This particular disease is caused by the Tomato vein streak virus (ToVSV), the Soybean blistering mosaic virus (SbBMV), and the Tomato yellow spot virus (ToYSV). The tomato plant will grow slightly slower than normal, and will also have a slightly stunted growth compared to a normal tomato plant. The disease receives its name from the fact that the leaves will have a notable curling around the central nervature, giving it a similar appearance to a spoon. The outer edge of the leaf will occasionally be spotted with chlorosis, while the underside will have visible symptoms that take the shape of small violet colored spots. It will be very common for the flowers of the plants infected with this disease to fall off, and any fruit that manage to grow will simply not grow nearly as large as they should. The normal vector for this virus is the whitefly Bemisia tabaci which can only transmit the virus in its adult phase.

Tomato apex necrosis disease

tutoring crops
Whether in a greenhouse or in the open field tutoring type is essential to reduce the incidence of viral diseases transmitted mechanically . The HORTOMALLAS® has clear advantages over raffia.

The tomato apex necrosis virus (TANV) used to be mistaken for the tomato spotted wilt virus. Not much is known about this diseases infection rates, but it is known to cause losses of over 60% of the crops in fields that become infected with it. The primary symptom shown by this disease appears in the fruit. Tomato fruit that become infected with this virus will have apical necrosis that appears in spots, causing the tomato to have no chance of being sold in the market. Recent studies have shown that the normal vector for this virus is the whitefly Bemicia tabaci.

Transmission of viral infections in tomato crops

The most important step that you can take to protect your crops from these viral infections is to prevent the pathogens from being able to get a foothold in your fields in the first place. As was mentioned earlier, the vast majority of treatments for viral infections are preventative, not reactionary, thus the application of agrochemicals early before vectors can infect your plants is important. The primary cause of infection in crops are arthropods (insects and mites) and nematodes that come and transmit the disease from one plant to another. Which virus is transmitted is dependent on which vector you have around your crops to transmit it, but a very common vector is the whitefly, as it can transmit several different viruses. The other common method of which viral infections are commonly spread is the actual mechanical transmission from the people working the field and handling the plants, spreading the virus from plants that have the disease to those that are healthy.

Methods to prevent viral infections in tomato crops

Prevent virosis using trellis net HORTOMALLAS®
With HORTOMALLAS® field operations are facilitated thanks to the size of his paintings.

When you use HORTOMALLAS® crop netting, field work will be more efficient thanks to the size of its netting

● Prepare the terrain before starting the cultivation of tomato, using adequate disinfection methods
● Eliminate any possible source of disease vector
● Choose a cultivar that is resistant to diseases
● Use healthy and clean seeds
● Your workers should use hygienic practices and disinfect their tools before and after manipulating any plant
● You should monitor your plants often. If you find a plant with a viral infections you should immediately remove that plant from the field and destroy it.

Tomato tutoring net minimizes the viral infections in your tomato crops

When you utilize a trellis netting solution provided by HORTOMALLAS®, you significantly reduce the conditions that are favorable to the infection of a virus for several reasons, for example by eliminating the initial conditions that are necessary for the development of a viral infections. Of all the stages of tomato growth, the stages that presents the highest risk to your plants are the ones that require a large quantity of plant manipulation. When you use HORTOMALLAS® crop support netting you reduce the necessary handling that your plants will need to grow correctly, and you also reduce the chance that a virus will be able to use your workers as a transmission vehicle to travel from plant to plant.

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