During the 2011 Florida Ag Expo, Dr. Mathews Paret, UF/IFAS, presented his and fellow researhers’ work on grafting tomato plants onto bacterial wilt-resistant rootstocks. The disease can cause rapid yield loss of 70% to 100% under ideal conditions.
Asian countries have practiced grafting of vegetables since the early 20th century. Currently, a large portion of the vegetable production in Japan and South Korea are on grafted plants. It also is very popular in Mediterranean countries.
Grafted vegetables are used for production due mostly to the improved horticultural qualities and disease resistance.
While work remains to be done, the research in Florida and Georgia shows that grafted plants have significantly higher yields compared to non-grafted and the self-grafted entries into the study. And, it illustrates that bacterial wilt can be managed by grafting with resistant hybrid rootstocks.