Target spot disease is increasing in tomatoes in southwest Florida, according to the South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline. The disease has reached moderate to high levels in multiple fields. The disease is also reported to be observed at a high incidence rate in Homestead, Florida.
Producers should be wary that target spot is frequently misdiagnosed and can be confused with bacterial spot and early blight.
Symptoms include the bull’s eye appearance that is displayed in lesions caused by the disease. Though the disease may be observed in the field, a laboratory diagnosis is needed to ensure a correct diagnosis is made.
On tomato leaves and stems, foliar symptoms of target spot consist of brown-black lesions with concentric rings giving them a target-like appearance. Lesions are more distinct on tomato fruit. As the fruit matures, the lesions will become larger and coalesce, leading to large pitted areas.
An integrated approach is needed for management of the disease. Growers should rotate fields and avoid rotations among solanaceous crops. Remove any volunteers and weed species that can serve as host plants.
There are chemical options as well. Approvia Top, Inspire Super, Luna Tranquility, Revus Top, Rhyme and Scala are top performers, according to University of Florida research trials.