Tomato Plant Problems
It is not surprising that growing tomatoes at home is a popular pastime for millions worldwide because you cannot beat the taste of a fresh, juicy tomato grown in your own garden. However, equally common are tomato plant problems, from harmful insects and diseases to inadequate care and fertilization issues. It is irrelevant whether you grow your tomatoes on your patio, in pots or in any particular direction as tomato plants can be afflicted by some or all of these of these troubles. For early signs of possible problems check the plant’s leaves as inspecting these frequently will ensure that you pick up on any changes early enough to catch the danger before it gets out of hand. If undetected, this may be impossible to cure and mean the loss of the individual plant or even the whole crop.
One of the most common problems is yellow leaves which is indicated when unfolded leaves sprout at the base of the plant working their way upwards. These symptoms could be the result of many things although it could just mean that the plant is getting old and dieing upwards from the bottom. A nitrogen deficiency in the soil could also be the cause of this. Infestations of pests, fungal or bacterial types are additional factors for this condition however these infections are usually denoted by curled, brown or deformed leaves. If the leaves are going brown or yellow further up the plant this may indicate late or even early blight so have the soil tested by a nursery to analyze if it is a nitrogen deficiency. The remedy for this would be to add a manure or compost that is well-decayed to supplement the soil as these are rich in nitrogen. A fertilizer with high nitrogen content would also suffice. If no deficiencies are found in the soil test, you should explore other avenues including blight or wilt.
Shiny, sticky, deformed leaves are particularly common tomato plant problems in younger vulnerable plants. These leaves may be yellow in appearance with sticky, shiny matter on them. This should not be mistaken for “rolled” leaves which is perfectly normal and will not harm tomato plants. The cause of this is tiny, pear-shaped insects that gather on the top foliage or underneath the leaves and these are called Aphids. They suck the plant’s sap damaging it and also excrete a sticky, white substance that clings to the plant’s fruit and foliage. A close inspection of the deformed leaves as well as the normal ones will enable you to view these bugs. Similar symptoms are also caused by spider mites and white flies but these insects are practically invisible. Yellow specks and fine webs on the leaves are the result of the spider mites and you will see the whiteflies fly away if you touch infected areas. Insecticidal soap and general purpose dust for the garden will remedy these insect problems.
Brown or black spots developing on plant leaves are a symptom of early blight and will cause the leaves to drop off while the plant’s fruits may also have the appearance of sun burn. This fungus survives the winter on old vines that have been left so always clean up any old ones at the start of the season to avoid this issue. Properly spaced plants and crop rotation permit the air to circulate and are also recommended as initial steps. Prevention should be the first step to remedy this condition so rotate crops and clean up at the start of the growing seasons. Dump all stems and foliage with diseases if you see any sign of early blight and do not include this plant debris in your pile of compost. Garden dust that is for general purposes will help control the disease effectively if you catch it early enough. Leaves that appear brown, dry and papery are a result of wet patches where water has soaked the area ultimately altering the leaves and spotting or blackening the fruit and stems in places. This late blight is the result of a fungus which favours wet weather and as its spores can spread over a vast distance it infects bigger sections. Fortunately this can be remedied similarly to early blight by control or prevention. However, if the infection is severe, it may be necessary to remove and dispose of all plants and trash completely.
If large parts of the plant’s leaves and stems suddenly wilt this may be either Fusarium Wilt, where leaves on one branch turn yellow and droop or Verticillium Wilt which initially materializes as yellowing on mature leaves between the main veins. Both of these conditions are the result of fungal infestation and this fungus is a natural manifestation within the plant and not caused by weather or lack of care. As it is inherent in the plant, this is one of the tomato plant problems for which there is no cure. Fusarium or Verticillium Wilt will both spread quickly and kill the plant. It is best to get rid of the plant swiftly without adding any of its debris to the compost pile. Limiting the risks of wilt appearing again can be done by selecting seeds or seedlings with care. While many varieties are resilient to wilt, doing this will lower the risks but there are no guarantees against reoccurrence.