In March, 2007, the virus that causes tomato yellow leaf curl popped up in greenhouse tomatoes being grown by a high school science class in Imperial County, Calif.

Because this disease is new to California and potentially devastating for tomato production, agencies have produced an informational brochure to help curtail its spread.

Tomato yellow leaf curl virus is a member of a family of viruses that are spread by whiteflies or leafhoppers. It infects peppers, some tobacco species, and a range of weed species, but tomatoes are by far the most important host.

With input from University of California, Davis Plant Pathologist Robert Gilbertson, the University of California statewide integrated pest management program has developed a brochure to help growers and pest control advisors learn about the disease, how to identify it, and what to do if they suspect that plants are infected. Several color photos illustrate disease symptoms and the whiteflies that spread the virus.

A PDF file of the brochure can be downloaded from the UC IPM Web site at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r783103311.html.

A pest management guideline on tomato yellow leaf curl will be posted on the site in the near future.

Anyone finding tomatoes with symptoms that look like tomato yellow leaf curl should contact a UC Cooperative Extension office; UC Davis Plant Pathologist Robert Gilbertson, (530) 752-3163; or California Department of Food and Agriculture Scientist Tonyan Tian, (916) 262-1127.

The California Tomato Research Institute, Inc., and California Tomato Growers Association, Inc., are supporting the project.