How to Rid a Garden of a Mosaic Virus


Tomato-tobacco mosaic virus is commonly referred to as simply mosaic virus. Found worldwide, this virus is known to affect over 150 different types of plants. While the virus is rarely responsible for the death of the plant, the plant is seriously stunted. Mosaic virus is characterized by the mosaic-like pattern of light green or yellowish coloring on the leaves of infected plants, as well as flowers and fruits. Unfortunately, there is no chemical treatment or cure for diseased plants. Take preventative measures to ensure that mosaic virus does not spread.

Things You'll Need

  • Boiling water
  • Strong soap
  • Disposable gloves
  • Sanitize garden tools used on or around plants infected with the virus. One of the most common ways the virus spreads to healthy plants is by contaminated hands or garden tools. Dipping tools in bleach is not an effective method of destroying the virus. Rather, place tools that were used on diseased plants in boiling water for five minutes, and then wash thoroughly with a strong soap or detergent solution.

  • Wear disposable gloves when working with infected plants, so you can throw away gloves when finished. Thoroughly wash your hands and arms as well, to ensure that no trace of the virus remains.

  • Destroy infected plants immediately and dispose of properly. Tomato-tobacco mosaic virus has been documented to still be living on plant parts that were 50 years old, so proper disposal of the infected plants is important. When removing an infected plant from the garden, remove surrounding plants, so the disease is not transmitted from one plant to another.

  • Sanitize soil in which diseased plants were living, since the virus also lives in the plant's root system. Roots left in the ground will easily transfer the virus to new plants grown in the same spot. If possible, dispose of the soil in which the contaminated plant was grown.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although you cannot heal a plant that is infected with tomato-tobacco mosaic virus, through proper sanitation and precautions, you can stop the spread of this virus through your garden.

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  • Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images Jupiterimages/ Images Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/ Images
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