Tomatoes are one of the most popular crops in home gardens, and they are also an important commercial crop. They are considered easy-care veggies by many gardeners, but sometimes they are attacked by virus diseases. One of these is the double streak tomato virus. What is double streak virus? Read on for information on double streak virus in tomatoes and how you should treat it.
What is Double Streak Virus?
Double streak tomato virus is a hybrid virus. Tomatoes with double streak virus have both tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and potato virus X (PVX).
TMV is found the all over the planet. It is the cause of losses of tomato crops both in the field and greenhouses. The virus is, unfortunately, very stable and can survive in dried plant debris as long as a century.
TMV is not transmitted by insects. It can be carried by tomato seeds, but it can also be transmitted mechanically by human activities. The most characteristic symptom of TMV is a light/dark-green mosaic pattern, although some strains create a yellow mosaic.
Potato virus X is also easily transmitted mechanically. Tomatoes with double streak have brown streaks on the foliage.
Double Streak Virus in Tomatoes
Tomatoes with double streak virus are usually large plants. But the virus gives them a dwarfed, spindly look. The foliage withers and rolls, and you can see long, brown streaks on petioles and stems. Double streak virus in tomatoes also causes the fruit to ripen irregularly. You may see light brown sunken spots on green fruit.
Controlling Double Streak Tomato Virus
The best way to control viruses on tomato plants is to keep up a program all year. If you follow this religiously, you can start controlling double streak tomato virus in a tomato crop.
Get your tomato seeds from a good store that you can trust. Ask if the seeds have been treated with acid or bleach to prevent infection.
To prevent double streak tomato virus as well as other potato viruses from spreading, you need to sterilize everything involved in the growing process from stakes to pruning tools. You can soak them in 1% formaldehyde solution.
Dipping your hands in milk before working with plants also helps prevent this tomato virus. Repeat this every five minutes. You’ll also want to keep your eye out for diseased plants starting early in the season. Never touch healthy plants when you cut out or weed out diseased plants.