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Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus in Kentucky Tomatoes

September 23, 2016

KENTUCKY: Kentucky Pest News reports that tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) has been more of an issue in Kentucky this year than in the past, especially in high tunnel tomatoes.


Common symptoms include:

  • Ringspots on leaves and/or fruit
  • Mottled and/or irregular fruit
  • Stem lesions
  • Leaf bronzing
  • Leaf stunting
  • Leaf wilting

Agronomic image of tomato spot virus

Tomatoes exhibiting mottling, ringspots and irregular growth.


Prevention is key to managing this pest, as there are no chemical management options available for plants once they’re infected with TSWV. TSWV is transmitted by thrips when they feed on an infected plant. When this happens, the virus replicates within the thrips and if they then feed on a healthy plant, the thrips may transmit the virus. Kentucky Pest News recommends the following prevention tactics:

  • Select disease resistant varieties
  • Do not set transplants that have visible spots
  • Utilize reflective mulches to deter thrips
  • Remove all above- and below-ground portions of infected plants; destroy to reduce disease spread
  • Manage weeds aggressively, both within and in close proximity to production areas
  • Manage thrips insect vectors

Resistant Varieties

Selecting tomato varieties that are resistant to TSWV is a key step in preventing the disease. Syngenta offers a wide range of varieties that are resistant to TSWV, including BrickYard, Mountain Glory and SummerPick. More information about these varieties can be found here.

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