Late blight has been detected in three different tomato plantings and two different potato fields in the Waldoboro area of Lincoln County.

The Pest Management Office at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service issued an alert after the plant disease was confirmed late last week and today.

“We don’t know if it is going to be a problem but people need to be vigilant,” said Jim Dill, plant specialist at the extension office in Orono.

Last year late blight caused significant crop losses, especially in southern Maine where the disease is rarely detected. Dill said the cool wet conditions last summer probably triggered the outbreak. He said if this summer’s hot dry conditions continue, the disease may not be as widespread.

He advised gardeners to look for the typical late blight symptoms: water-soaked grease spots on foliage with a fine white mycelium on the underside of the leaflet. The stalk infections usually look almost black.

He said gardeners should contact their extension service to arrange for testing if they suspect an infection. Diseased plants should be bagged on the spot before disposal, he said.

There are fungicides available to protect both organic and nonorganic gardens, said Dill.

More information is available by calling the extension late blight hotline at 1-207-760-9476.