Grafting Tomatoes to Improve Plant Health

Kathryn Fontenot, Sexton, Mary

Tomatoes are an important crop to backyard gardeners and commercial producers. Ideal tomato plants have excellent foliage, robust production, marketable fruit characteristics and disease resistance. Thousands of tomato varieties are available for planting. Narrowing down which varieties to plant can be challenging. Even more challenging is finding a tomato variety that meets the needs of the local market and is resistant to disease. One way to meet that need is to graft your favorite variety onto a disease-resistant rootstock. Grafted tomato plants are sold at local nurseries and online plant stores. Grafted plants range in price from less $1 per plant to $20 per plant, depending on the type and quantity purchased. Before purchasing grafted plants or grafting your own, it is very important to understand why you are grafting the plant, what disease you are trying to protect against and what varieties and rootstocks are compatible. The main reason to plant grafted tomato plants is to protect the plants from soil-borne diseases such as bacterial wilt, root knot nematode, and Fusarium wilt. Additional benefits of grafted plants may include increased yield and plant vigor.

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Alejandra Jimenez Madrid, M.S. 2017 graduate, Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology

Kathryn Fontenot, Assistant Professor, School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences

Mary Sexton, Extension Associate, School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences

Melanie Lewis Ivey (formerly LSU AgCenter), Assistant Professor, Dept. of Plant Pathology, Ohio State University-Wooster Campus

10/2/2017 6:13:10 PM
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