What's wrong with these tomatoes? (pics)

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Timedess, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    That is, pics IF I can get it to work- I've never posted pics on here before.

    Hmmm.... Let me try another route- I'll post it on my web site, and give a link here.


    Wisconsin 55 All Curled Up


    This is one of my Wisconsin 55 tomato plants, that I grew from seed. See the curly leaves at the top, and the twisting, curling branches? All of our tomato plants this year have this, to varying degrees. I have no idea what it might be. The various types of tomatoes (7 in all, 6 of which are heirlooms) are all planted in different beds (well, some types are "doubled up" due to lack of space) and different dirt. I had to mix my own from various sources to make my raised beds this year. Maybe we'd have been better off planting in our poor soil again! :-( About the only thing that I can think of that is "same" about all of the tomatoes, is they can get blown by the same wind, my husband watered them all with Miracle Gro a couple of times (over my loud protests!), and I use the same hose to water all those in the back- the ones in the front are watered with a different hose.
    I see no spots or yellowing, very few holes (as from insect feeding), and the stems and leaves all seem green- they're just severely curly! The new growth displays this pattern much more than old growth. The smaller (planted later) Riesentraube tomatoes in the very back have the least of this, but they are beginning to show it as well. The tomatoes in the front bed, the Black Cherry tomatoes, ate huge- very lush and gorgeous. But as I looked underneath this morning, some of the under branches are beginning to look curly too- and these, though none of the others, are beginning to show some browning and crinkling (dry sports, looks like) on some of the affected branches. All the tomatoes but the Black Cherries, have the curling at the top; the Black Cherries, in the front, have it underneath, and not to be seen on the growth tips.
    I hope I'm explaining this right. It could be that what's affecting those in the front, is different from what is affecting the rest of them. I am so upset and disappointed! I got all of the seeds I planted, from Martin here, and added a few Ozark Pinks and Better Boys that were given to us later, all ready to plant. I did so want them to do well! What can I do, if anything? What is wrong with them???
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Tentative diagnosis is too much water. There are certain diseases which will also do that but I'm thinking that it may be just too much kindness in the form of water. Especially so if combined with heavy fertilization. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about them very much. So, back off on the watering and see if that helps.

    Martin
     

  3. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    Well. Golly. I didn't expect that one! :D I haven't been watering them myself, much at all. It's been a rather wet spring here, though. I can't really control the rainfall, but we're looking at about a week or so without rain "on the schedule". I'll hold off on watering them and see what happens. Can I expect the curly parts to right themselves, new growth to come out normal, or what? I was so worried that either we had "bad dirt", or someone had mysteriously sprayed tomato-specific herbicides close by! :haha: Thanks, Martin. I've been so worried about "your" tomatoes! ;)
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, I've already seen the leaf curl thing this year when I was treating the Yellow WI55 with a bit too much liquid kindness. A problem with tomatoes is that every variety seems to have its own special needs and there is no "one size fits all" situation. Many of the commercial types were designed for field growing. Determinates do best with almost daily small drinks. Vigorous indeterminates can handle heavy waterings. Somewhere in between applies to everything else.

    Leaf curl possible causes are mentioned in the site below:

    http://gardenline.usask.ca/pests/tomato.html

    Martin
     
  5. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    Interesting link, Martin- thank you! So we should still get at least some tomatoes after all. That's wonderful! If all else fails, we ought to be swimming in Black Cherry tomatoes, at least- they are higher than my head and very lush and heavily laden with little green tomatoes. I think the funny-looking leaves on the bottoms of them ought to amount to nothing, based on what I've seen here. (yay!) I think the biggest problem with them, will be keeping the tomatoes on the vines long enough for them to ripen (I have kids who seem to love little green tomatoes.... :rolleyes: ) Thanks again, Martin! I'll try to let you know how things turn out in a few weeks! :)
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    I'm seeing something worse than just leaf curl right now. However, it's mainly affecting one certain Romanian variety. Leaves curled and then wilted. I have to remind myself that they do not need more water but rather less of it. Of the 30 or so varieties grown this year, Speckled Roman, Redskin, and Lescana Beefsteak are all telling me that they are happier with less water rather than more.

    Martin
     
  7. RoseGarden

    RoseGarden Well-Known Member

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    Could it be early stage of curly top virus? With curly top, the plant doesn't recover, will become stunted and decline, with the phloem tissue in the stem dying and becoming black.
     
  8. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    Well, I haven't watered since starting this thread. A few of the leaves on a couple of the plants are starting to uncurl! Woo hoo! Dh and I are hopeful now for a decent harvest after all! :D
     
  9. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    It's good to see that recovery is underway for a ailment that really didn't exist! It really is hard to imagine that too much water is sometimes worse than not enough but it's true. I backed off watering on anything which didn't look right. Quickest recovery were the 4 Romanian Lescana plants which were almost limp several days ago.

    Wisconsin 55 will also do something else which may cause concern. New leaf bracts will often curl almost like a fiddlehead fern if over-watered. It may have gotten that from its parent Redskin although John Baer, a grandparent of WI55, also shows some of that trait. Nothing else here is showing that strange thing this year.

    Martin
     
  10. AlchemyAcres

    AlchemyAcres Member

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    Although leaf roll can be caused by too much moisture, too much nitrogen fertilizer or root damage from close cultivation...usually it's caused by vigourous demands of new growth exceeding the roots ability to serve the whole plant...the plant realizes this and shuts down some leaves by curling...usually this corrects itself within a couple weeks when the roots catch-up. Seems to be very noticeable when a cool spell is followed by a nice warm spell. Some varieties are much more prone to this than others.
    It's also best to not cultivate tomatoes...use a heavy mulch... this helps keep moisture even, combats weeds and helps avoid root damage.


    ~Martin F.
     
  11. Deb&Al

    Deb&Al Well-Known Member

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    this is a great thread, i was/am having the same problems with my tomatoes and wondered what new form of problem i was dealing with now. :)

    debbie
     
  12. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    Well, I hate to say this, but I'm still confused by these poor tomatoes. :( We didn't water until today- dh insisted, cause everything was just wilting so badly, and it hasn't rained in over a week. We aren't even getting really heavy dews anymore.

    Someone was visiting yesterday, who said it looked like root nematodes were the problem. I actually pulled up one of the ailing tomatoes- they're all ailing, really- and looked at the roots. No knots at all. Wasted tomato. :waa: (It wasn't one of yours, Martin! ;) ). Then I was looking around on the 'net for info about nematodes, and found a picture of tomatoes that looked exactly like mine- with the caption "Cucumber Mosaic Virus". The leaves were all curled up and small and deformed like mine are. :waa: It said to pull up any affected plant as soon as you notice it. Well, ALL of our tomatoes are affected, whatever it is! If I pull them all up, we won't get ANY tomatoes this year at all! I figure it can't hurt to leave them there and see what comes of it. After all, if our soil is contaminated, it is *already* contaminated, and if all the tomatoes are *sick*, then they are *all* already sick, so why pull them up now? I know I won't be saving any seeds from these, though. At least I didn't plant them all- I still have some from the packets you sent.

    I have several of "Uncle Steve's" tomatoes growing now, and a couple of Wisconsin55's. A few small Rief's Red Hearts and one or two Reisentraubes. Those are the smallest group- for some reason they've mostly only just now started to take off. Perhaps the leaves on those won't do like the others. They are all the way across the garden from the awfullest-looking ones.

    I have OODLES of green Black Cherry tomatoes. I am waiting impatiently for them to start to ripen. Those are the ones in the front yard, that aren't looking like the others in the back. Now, though, I'm seeing some of those ones' lower leaves and branches turning darkish brown and wilting, drying up and crinkly. Is it POSSIBLE to raise even ONE tomato plant without some sort of disease or something making it look like it's half-dead???? It's frustrating! I know that this has a pretty good learning curve with it. My dh grew up gardening with chemicals, and he wants to throw chemicals at them. I don't think they'll do any good, and won't be good for us to eat in the fruit. Not good for the soil, either. But once it starts getting hot, something ALWAYS seems to crop up. It has me ready to give up and refuse to have any garden at all next year. :no: I do think that next year will be a year of container gardening, to let the soil here "rest" and see if I can keep any potential diseases at bay.