Cornell UniversityCollege of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Department of Horticulture
Department of Plant Pathology
  and Plant-Microbe Biology

Department of Entomology
CCE of Suffolk County
Long Island Horticultural Research and Education Center
Home |  About |  Staff |  Events |  Directions |  Contributors
Serving the research and extension needs
of Long Island's horticultural industries.

Vegetable Pathology contact:

Dr. Meg McGrath
3059 Sound Ave.
Riverhead, NY 11901
(631) 727-3595
(631) 727-3611 (fax)

All photographs in this gallery were taken by Meg McGrath unless otherwise noted. For permission to use Meg's, please email her:

Pith necrosis on tomato

Click on images for a larger view.

Return to disease photo index.

Symptoms observed in a high tunnel, June 2008. Diagnosis based on symptoms.

Pith necrosis on tomato
Leaves of affected plants were yellow and wilting.

Pith necrosis on tomato
Main stems had many adventitious roots, a common symptom for this disease.

Pith necrosis on tomato
The center of stems had brown and rotting tissue. It was hollow in severely affected stems. These are characteristic symptoms for pith necrosis.

Pith necrosis on tomato
Some fruit had brown tissue.

Pith necrosis is caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas corrugata, which is considered a weak pathogen able to attack tomato plants that are growing too fast. It occurs primarily in greenhouses with affected plants randomly distributed. Symptoms typically develop when first fruit are close to mature green. Disease incidence and severity is favored by high nitrogen fertilization, cool temperatures at night, high humidity, and plastic mulch. Nitrogen had been applied at a high rate in the high tunnel where the disease developed on Long Island.

The only strategy for managing pith necrosis is prevention by avoiding favorable conditions, in particular excessive nitrogen. Copper fungicides are not able to provide control because this soil-borne bacterial pathogen is inside the plant.

Return to disease photo index.

Copyright by the Department of Horticulture Website at Cornell University.