Rust disease is a plant fungus that can kill or stunt the growth of tomato plants. The fungus prevents the plant from taking in adequate nutrition, and the natural weather elements spread the spores.
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The rust infection spots may be flat or raised and have a yellow, orange, red or brown tone. The spots are commonly found on the underside of the plant leaves, but your tomato plant may show signs of rust infection on its stem, leaves or the growing tomatoes.
Spacing your tomato plants and pruning dead leaves can help prevent rust disease. Weeding often helps avoid an infected weed growth that can spread the spores to your tomato plants. Since rust spores live on moisture, watering your plants at ground level and avoiding drenching the leaves helps prevent rust disease.
Not all rust spore infections are the same, as varying types of fungus can be the cause. The use of a fungicidal soap on the tomato plant may kill the infection if an organic approach is needed. Chemical fungal sprays for rust disease are also available at gardening and hardware stores.
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