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Tomato Question

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Tomato Question

Post  Finch on 5/18/2010, 10:48 am

Does anyone recognize this? I didn't think much of slightly rolled leaves on my tomatoes at first. I think I've seen it before on my tomatoes and never gave it much notice. Didn't seem to hurt them. But this has gotten progressively worse! All eight tomato plants have it to some degree. The hybrids seem maybe worse?

This is a brand new garden, containing Mel's Mix. I bought plants from Ace Hardware and planted them (up to their necks) before the date of the last frost, as it was a mild spring. So there was quite a bit of cool weather. And some wind. And also some heat--we would get down into the forties and then up into the upper eighties or low nineties pretty quickly. I am hoping it is physiological leaf roll. That seems the lesser of the other evils!


I was worried it might be a virus or a pest invasion, but everything I read online indicates there should be a discoloring of the leaves. But they stay nice and green. Tough and leathery, though.

I wondered about too much nitrogen, but with Mel's Mix isn't that unlikely? It does seem like plants this size ought to have more fruit.

Bugs are at what I would normally call typical levels: some here and there. Aphids I guess. But my tomatoes have always had a few.

Makes me realize how causual and lucky I've been in the past. I've always had good dirt, plunked them in the ground, and simply watered and harvested.

I read online that indeterminate types tend to get the physiological leaf roll more readily, and that severe pruning seems to make it worse. Since I train mine up ropes, I do pick off suckers. Sometimes they get away from me and they are quite big--8 inches or so--before I find them.

Does anyone else have this problem?

These tomato plants have been growing incredibly fast. They have had this for quite some time but in the last two or three weeks it has gotten much worse.

I am going to try to post pictures here. This is my first time, so if it doesn't work forgive me! Thanks for your help!






]

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  blssd2x2 on 5/21/2010, 10:30 am

i have a tomato plant looking like that! and i don't know what to do either. have you found out a solution yet?

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  Wyldflower on 5/21/2010, 12:05 pm

I wonder if it's one of these problems (looked up in the tomato section of Colorado University Extension):
Distorted leaves:
Curling, shoestringing, cupping and herbicides
applied recently plants stunted, no herbicides applied
Herbicide injury
Cucumber mosaic virus
If you haven't applied any herbicides (lawn treatment?) recently, then it may be the cucumber mosaic virus... you can check HERE for what to do, if this seems to be the problem. (sadly, it isn't good news)

I hope someone else can either verify this or correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  Jola on 5/21/2010, 12:06 pm

Finch, have you looked at copper deficiency online?

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  plb on 5/21/2010, 12:41 pm

There have been a lot of problems with herbicide damage to home grown veggies in the UK too; if you google aminopyralid contamination, you'll get a lot of information, pictures and advice.
The problem was that this herbicide was put on grasslands, and the grass eaten by cattle or horses or used as bedding; then the manure was composted, but it didn't disintegrate, it was found in too high dosage in various composts, including some sold by big brands.
Your plants display the typical symptoms... If that's the case, you shouldn't use the plants. It might be that the soil the plants came in was contaminated, if none of your other plants is showing signs of contamination. If it's the whole mix that is contaminated, then follow the procedures you find online, but I suspect you shouldn't grow anything in them for several months, and turn the soil often.
If it's a virus, I don't know...

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  Jola on 5/21/2010, 12:53 pm

plb, I though about that too, but that symptom occurs only in her tomatoes. If it was soil contaminations, all her plants would be affected.
I posted a post about my experience with contaminated compost. If you are interested please look: http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/general-sfg-talk-f5/contaminated-compost-t2221.htm

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What are you using as a mulch?

Post  BertieFox on 5/21/2010, 1:29 pm

I notice that your tomato plants are heavily mulched with what looks like straw. Could this have been from a source where herbicide or pesticide could have used?
However, if the plants are still making growth and setting fruit, you may have nothing much to worry about as they should outgrow the damage as the season progresses. It could simply be a physiological problem caused by too much nitrogen as you say, or a combination of heat stress and overwatering.
It will be interesting to hear what happens to them as they continue growing.

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  camprn on 5/21/2010, 2:09 pm

Some responses on Wiki-answers about tomato leaf curl. According to this Extension service writing, these symptoms could simply be a result of cool rainy weather (but not a fungus). How deep is that mulch of pine needles?

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  blssd2x2 on 5/21/2010, 3:59 pm

for my tomato plant it is my only one doing it (leaves curling) and i am not mulching. also it is a drought tolerant tomato plant "solar fire" someone today suggested that i may be over watering it??


@blssd2x2 wrote:i have a tomato plant looking like that! and i don't know what to do either. have you found out a solution yet?

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looks familiar

Post  jenjehle on 5/21/2010, 4:09 pm

Last year, early on, my tomatoes began curling like this. At first, they just curled and nothing else happened. Then they slowly began to have some discoloration to the leaves.


I contacted my extension office and emailed them pictures of my tomato plants. They told me I probably had fusarium wilt. I wasn't convinced but that's what I was told. The plants eventually died and I threw them away in the trash... not in my compost bin Smile

I hope your problem clears us! And it's not something that will lead to destruction of the plant.

Good luck!

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  Finch on 5/23/2010, 2:31 pm

Thank you for all your thoughts! It is so wonderful to get help from experienced gardeners. You really gave me some ideas.

The mulch was added just last week or so, after the problem. It came from a chemical-free yard. Does it look like too much? It is 1.5 to 2 inches thick. We had a lot of cool, wet weather earlier in the spring, but recently not so much. Seems like the tomatoes should be doing better by now. I took some leaves into the local nursery and she thought it was nothing to worry about, probably the weather, and sold me some fish emulsion to give them a boost.

When it got hot, I did water them quite a bit because they were small and seemed to dry out quickly. One reason I mulched was to hold in some moisture so I could stop watering every other day or so when it was hot. And now its raining fairly regularly and I've mulched them. Could it really be something so simple as overwatering? I choose this one!!!

I checked out copper deficiencey. Shouldn't there be some yellowing of the leaves? And there is no wilting at all, even though it looks like it. Some sites idicated loss of turgor for copper deficiency. Same for cucumber mosaic, right? These are stiff and very green.

The herbicide sound most "promising" here. Argh. Just what I wanted in my new organic garden. However, some sites indicated even lettuce shouldn't sprout well---advised testing soil by planting it to see if it comes up. I have had TONS of lettuce and greens thriving all spring. Several crops were named as sensitive, but they are virtually all doing great in the rest of the garden. EXCEPT one site named specifically tomatoes and beans as the sensitive crops. I just noticed a few days ago---since posting initially---that the tops of my pole beans are starting to look similar. Just the new growth. They did FINE at first and grew a good foot or so high before this showed up at all. Strange.

All the garden is planted in the same dirt. Mel's Mix. I can only wonder if we got contaminated mushroom compost?? Maybe lower levels of the herbacide aminopyralid only affect beans and tomatoes? IS IT SAFE TO EAT THE LETTUCE AND OTHER CROPS THAT LOOK FINE? I've been gorging. Yikes!

Thanks again!

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Don't worry

Post  BertieFox on 5/23/2010, 3:49 pm

Finch, I really wouldn't worry too much as long as the tomatoes are continuing to grow, flower and set fruit. I would guess as you added the mulch recently, it is just a physiological problem caused by too much nitrogen while the plants are in the early growth stage. Just keep monitoring them, and I expect you will find they revert to normal growth fairly soon.
You can't have too much mulch on things like toms or even around brassicas. I usually have about four or five inches around plants and it really keeps them damp at the roots.
If you can post again in a month or two and let us all know what happened to your tomatoes it would be very informative.
I would bet they will be fine.

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Re:Tomato Question

Post  mrseltzer on 7/31/2010, 1:34 pm

My tomatoes are doing the same thing. However, I am using Mel's mix in patio boxes, so they are not in contact with contaminated soil. These tomato plants are heilooms. The flowers are tiny and they are not setting much fruit. I water the plants when they are dry, so about every other day. Am I over watering? I will look up the virus links. I thought it might be a virus.

It has been a big disappoinment so far.

I am in Southern CA. Our weather has been very cool this summer.

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

Mary S

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Re: Tomato Question

Post  camprn on 7/31/2010, 3:08 pm

What types of tomatoes are you growing? Tomatoes are heavy feeders. Have you fed them lately? If not give them a dose and my guess is they will perk up a bit. I would also encourage you to not let the soil dry totally as this will stress the plants. Good luck.
Also, how do you define cool? What have the day and night temps been?

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Re:Tomato Question

Post  mrseltzer on 7/31/2010, 3:24 pm

Hi Camprn-

I did feed them earlier this week with Miracle Grow Tomato food. The temps here have been in the 70s during the day and 60 at night. We usually have much warmer weather in July--upwards of 90, but we have had marine layer most days.

I am growing:

  • Bush (D)
  • Sweet Gold FT (I)
  • Suggary (I)
  • Bush Celrbrity VFFNTA (D)

The plants flower with small flowers (most heirloom tomatoes I grow in the ground, as opposed to SFG patio planters, have larger flowers) that do not seem to set.

I am assuming I am doing something wrong.

Thank you for any help-

Mary

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Re: Tomato Question

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