Curly leaves on tomato plants... what is it?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by MariaAZ, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. MariaAZ

    MariaAZ Suburban Homesteader

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    Some of the leaves on my indeterminate Black Krim heirloom tomatoes are curled, yellowish and stunted. I've looked up curly top virus, but the leaves don't get purple veins as was described in a few sources. In fact, they actually look chlorotic, with dark green veins with pale green leaf edges. The lower leaves look fine, the affected plant parts are growing although not fruiting.

    Any idea what I'm dealing with?
     
  2. mj1angier

    mj1angier Well-Known Member

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    Mine are doing this right now, but I think it is from the 100+ heat that we are having. Check them one morning after a rain and see if they still look curled
     

  3. ksfarmer

    ksfarmer Retired farmer-rancher

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    Here is a recent bulletin from Dr Ward Upham of Kansas State. Not sure this is your problem: but worth considering. .....
    Physiological Leaf Curl in Tomatoes
    Every year we receive calls from gardeners about tomato plants with
    curling leaves. When tomato plants grow vigorously in mild, spring
    weather, the top growth often exceeds the root development. When the
    first few days of warm, dry summer weather hit, the plant 'realizes' it
    has a problem and needs to increase root development. The plant tries to
    reduce its leaf area by rolling leaves. The leaves curl along the length
    of the leaf (leaflet) in an upward fashion. It is often accompanied by a
    thickening of the leaf giving it a leathery texture. Interestingly, leaf
    roll is worse on some varieties than others.
    Though rolling usually occurs during the spring to summer shift period,
    it may also occur after a heavy cultivating or hoeing, a hard rain, or
    any sudden change in weather. This year, it seems heavy rains have
    contributed to the situation in certain areas of the state. Too much
    rain can saturate the soil and suffocate the roots. The damaged root
    system is less able to transport water, especially when warm
    temperatures and winds increase water use. This leaf roll is a temporary
    condition that goes away after a week or so when the plant has a chance
    to acclimate, recover from injury, or the soil has a chance to dry out. (WU)
     
  4. MariaAZ

    MariaAZ Suburban Homesteader

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    The leaves on some of the plants (the slowest growing ones at the shadiest end of the row) have been curled for quite a while. I switched over from hand-watering to a drip hose a few weeks ago, and after looking at these most affected plants, the leaves DO seem to be flattening out a bit. They still have this waffle-like texture where the tissue between the veins is bulging, but there is improvement in the older leaves.

    The description by Dr. Ward sounds pretty familiar; the leaves appear thicker than the other leaves, and we have recently been shifting from the warm spring to hot summer days, so that would explain the newer curling we're seeing.

    Thanks for the input! I can rest easier now, I was worried about dealing with a disease process :)