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Common Tomato Plant Problems

Common Tomato Plant Problems

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Published by valreaf
Growing tomatoes in a home garden is a popular hobby for millions of people around the world. Why?...because there is NOTHING like a fresh, juicy tomato from your very own garden.
Unfortunately, tomato plant problems are also very common. Problems may include harmful insects, diseases and improper care or fertilization. It doesn't matter whether you grow your tomatoes in a garden, in a pot, on your deck, upside-down, right-side up or sideways, most tomato plants can fall victim to any or all of these problems.
Growing tomatoes in a home garden is a popular hobby for millions of people around the world. Why?...because there is NOTHING like a fresh, juicy tomato from your very own garden.
Unfortunately, tomato plant problems are also very common. Problems may include harmful insects, diseases and improper care or fertilization. It doesn't matter whether you grow your tomatoes in a garden, in a pot, on your deck, upside-down, right-side up or sideways, most tomato plants can fall victim to any or all of these problems.

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Published by: valreaf on Jul 12, 2010
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Common Tomato Plant Problems - Let the Leaves Tellthe Story
Growing tomatoes in a home garden is a popular hobby for millions of people around the world.
Why?
...because there is NOTHING like afresh, juicy tomato from your very own garden.Unfortunately, tomato plant problems are also very common. Problemsmay include harmful insects, diseases and improper care orfertilization. It doesn't matter whether you grow your tomatoes in agarden, in a pot, on your deck, upside-down, right-side up or sideways,most tomato plants can fall victim to any or all of these problems. The leaves of your tomato plants are a great early indicator of potential problems. Regular, weekly inspection of your tomato plantleaves will allow you to notice changes early and detect problems whilethey can still be easily controlled. If a problem is allowed to goundetected, it may become incurable and result in a total loss of theplant or crop.
 Yellow leaves
Symptom:
Yellow, uncurled leaves begin to form at the bottom of theplant and may work their way up the plant.
Cause:
 Yellow leaves are a common problem and may be caused bymany things. If yellow, uncurled leaves appear at the base of a tomatoplant, it may just be a sign of the plantagingand beginning to die off from the bottom up. It may also be caused by a nitrogen deficiency inthe soil.Other factors may cause yellow leaves including pest, fungus andbacterial infestations but these causes usually result in deformed orcurled yellow or brown leaves. For example, if the leaves are turningyellow or brown higher up on the plant, it may be a sign of early or lateblight. Have your soil tested at a local nursery to confirm the nitrogen-deficiency diagnosis.
Remedy:
If the soil does have a nitrogen deficiency, supplement thesoil with well-rotted manure or compost, both of which are high innitrogen. You can alsoapplya nitrogen-rich fertilizer. If the soil test
 
results do not show any deficiencies, continue to explore other causesincluding wilt or blight.
Shiny, sticky, deformed leaves
Symptom:
Leaves are deformed, sometimes yellow, and appear tohave a shiny, sticky substance on them. Young tomato plants areespecially vulnerable to this "small" problem. Do not confuse this with"rolled" leaves which is a normal occurrence and not harmful to manytomato plants.
Cause
: Aphids are small, pear-shaped insects that congregate on thetop growth or underside of leaves. Aphids damage tomatoes bysucking plant sap and excreting a sticky substance on the foliage andfruit. Inspect the deformed leaves or normal leaves in the vicinity andyou should be able to see these insects.Whiteflies and spider mites are also nearly invisible insects that cancause similar symptoms. Spider mites cause small yellow specks andfine webs on leaves. Whiteflies will actually take flight when you brushthe plant.
Remedy:
Use an insecticidal soap or general-purpose garden dust tocontrol any of these insects.
Brown patches on leaves
Symptom:
Black or brown spots develop on plant leaves and theybegin to fall off the plant. The plant may also produce fruits with asunburned appearance.
Cause:
Early Blight is a fungus that survives during the winter on oldvines left on the garden floor. Cleaning up old vines from the priorseason, rotating crops and spacing plants properly to allow for good aircirculation are good first steps in avoiding this problem.
Remedy:
Preventative measures should be considered first, ie. croprotation and cleaning up debris from prior growing seasons. If yoususpect your plants have Early Blight, remove all diseased stems andfoliage and dispose of in the trash. Do not add the plant debris to yourcompost pile. A general-purpose garden dust can sometimes beeffective in controlling the disease if caught in the early stages.
Brown, dry, papery leaves
 
Symptom:
Water-soaked patches appear on leaves that ultimately turnbrown, dry and papery. Fruit and stems might also be spotted or haveblackened areas.
Cause:
Late Blight is caused by a fungus that is favored by wetweather and whose spores can travel great distances and infect largeareas.
Remedy:
Late Blight can be prevented or controlled in a similar fashionto Early Blight as described above. If the area is severely infected,removing all plants and disposing in the trash may be the onlysolution.
Large sections of suddenly wilted leaves and stems
Symptom:
Fusarium Wilt causes leaves on one branch of infected plantto wilt and turn yellow. Verticillium Wilt first appears as yellowingbetween the major veins on mature leaves.
Cause:
Both wilts are caused by a fungal infestation. The fungus isinherent in the plant and is not caused or affected by external sourcessuch as weather or care.
Remedy:
Unfortunately there is no treatment for a plant infected withFusarium or Verticillium Wilt. It will spread rapidly through the plantand eventually kill it. The best remedy is to quickly dispose of theentire plant in the trash. Do not add the debris to your compost pile. Tolimit the risk of wilt reappearing in the future, seeds or seedlingsshould be selected carefully. Many varieties are resistant to wilt andalthough it doesn't guarantee it won't occur, it significantly limits therisk.Visit the author's illustrated reference,10 Tomato Plant Problems, formore detailed information on growing tomatoes.Suzy T is a mom of three from New Jersey (yes, the Garden State!) andis an avid gardener. Growing "Jersey" tomatoes, in particular, is one of her favorite summertime hobbies. Please visitSuzy's Gardenfor moregreat information and articles about everything related to gardening,crafts, cooking and more.Besides being a full-time mom and gardener, Suzy is also a teacher'saide in a special needs class, a great shopper and part-time writer. Sheis also an advocate for the rights and needs of disabled children.

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