Identify and manage six common tomato plant diseases with these tips.

How to identify and control tomato plant disease

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Tomato growers are a passionate bunch. Some of us spend long hours combing over seed catalogs and nursery benches full of plants to select the perfect tomato varieties for our garden. We plant, tend, prune, fertilize, stake, and otherwise care for our tomato plants with a dedication rivaled only by our dedication to our human family. But, even with all that care and attention, sometimes a tomato plant disease strikes our garden. Today, let’s review some of the most common tomato plant diseases and discuss ways to prevent and manage them, without resorting to synthetic chemicals for control.

Types of tomato diseases

Unfortunately, there are several pathogens that can cause tomato plant disease. I’m going to introduce you to several specific tomato diseases later in this article, but before I get to that, it’s important to talk briefly about the different types of pathogens and how to prevent them from striking your garden in the first place.

Some tomato disease pathogens are fungal organisms while others are bacterial or even viral. Different regions of North America are affected by different tomato pathogens, and rates of infection are dependant on many factors, including wind patterns, temperature, humidity, varietal resistance, and plant health, to name just a few. It’s important to remember that tomato plants that are healthy and properly cared for will often show more resistance to tomato plant disease, so ensuring your tomato crop has ample moisture and healthy, fertile soil is a must.

Preventing tomato disease requires a few special steps.

Preventing tomato diseases is a must, if you want to have productive plants.

Preventing tomato plant disease

Other than making sure your tomato plants are happy and healthy, there are a few other things you can do to help prevent tomato plant diseases. Here are nine tips to get you started on the road to disease-free, productive tomato plants:

  1. Rotate your crops. Since many tomato pathogens live in the soil, plant tomatoes in a different spot in the garden each year.
  2. Pinch off leaves with any signs of disease immediate and dispose of them in the trash to keep a possible infection from spreading.
  3. Don’t work in the garden when tomato foliage is wet or you may inadvertently spread pathogens from plant to plant.
  4. Choose disease-resistant varieties when selecting which types of tomatoes to grow.
  5. Remove all diseased tomato plant debris at the end of the growing season and burn it or toss it in the trash. Do not put diseased foliage in the compost pile.
  6. Provide adequate air circulation around each plant. Here’s our guide to spacing tomatoes properly.
  7. Mulch your tomato plants well at the start of the season. Two or three inches of compost, leaf mold, straw, or hay serves to keep soil-dwelling fungal spores from splashing up onto the lower leaves when it rains.
  8. Try to keep the foliage dry whenever possible. Hand irrigation or soaker hoses allow you to target the water on the root zone. The splash from overhead sprinklers can spread disease and wet foliage promotes fungal issues.
  9. Disinfect the empty pots if you grow your tomatoes in containers, using a 10% bleach solution at the end of the growing season and replace the spent potting soil with a new mix every spring.

    Prevention is key when it comes to tomato diseases.

    Follow every prevention tip you can to keep your tomato plants from being ravaged by diseases like this one.

6 Common tomato plant diseases

Despite your best efforts at preventing tomato diseases, they may still get a foothold in your garden from time to time. Here’s the low-down on six of the most common tomato plant diseases with information on identifying, preventing, and managing each of them.

Early blight

Identify: This common tomato plant disease appears as bulls-eye-shaped brown spots on the lower leaves of a plant. Often the tissue around the spots will turn yellow. Eventually, infected leaves will fall off the plant. In most cases, the tomatoes will continue to ripen, even as the disease symptoms progress up the plant.

Prevent: The early blight pathogen (Alternaria solani) lives in the soil and once a garden has shown signs of the early blight fungus, it’s there to stay because the organism easily overwinters in the soil, even in very cold climates. Fortunately, most tomatoes will continue to produce even with moderately severe cases of early blight. To prevent this tomato fungal disease, mulch plants with a layer of newspaper topped with untreated grass clippings, straw, leaf mold, or finished compost immediately after they are planted. This mulch forms a protective barrier, preventing the soil-dwelling spores from splashing up out of the soil and onto the plant.

Manage: Once the fungus strikes, organic fungicides based on Bacillus subtilis or copper can help prevent or stop the spread of this tomato plant disease. Bicarbonate fungicides are also effective (including BiCarb, GreenCure, etc).

Early blight tomato plant disease

Early blight often begins as irregularly shaped, bulls-eyed brown spots on the lower leaves of a tomato plant.

Fusarium wilt

Identify: The pathogen that causes Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) is generally more common in warm, southern regions where this tomato plant disease can wipe out entire fields. Symptoms include drooping leaf stems. Sometimes an entire branch may wilt, often starting with the lower portion of the plant and then progressing upwards until the whole plant collapses. To confirm an infection, cut the main stem of the plant open and look for dark streaks running lengthwise through the stem. Sometimes there are also dark cankers at the base of the plant

Prevent: The spores of this tomato plant disease live in the soil and can survive for many years. They’re spread by equipment, water, plant debris, and even people and animals. The best method of prevention is to plant resistant varieties if you’ve had trouble with Fusarium wilt in the past. Also disinfect tomato cages and stakes with a 10% bleach solution at the end of every season.

Manage: Once this tomato plant disease strikes, there’s little you can do to control it. Instead, focus on preventing it for future years. Soil solarization can help kill fungal spores in the top few inches of soil, and crop rotation is key. There are also several biological fungicidal drenches that can be applied to soil (look for one based on the bacteria Streptomyces griseoviridis called MycoStop® or a granular one based on the fungus Trichoderma virens called Soil Guard®). These products may help prevent the infection from colonizing the roots of future crops.

Late blight

Identify: Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) is among the most destructive tomato plant diseases. Thankfully, it’s not very common, especially in the north where it doesn’t survive winter’s freezing temperatures without a host plant. Late blight is caused by a fungus, and it creates irregularly shaped splotches that are slimy and water-soaked. Often, the splotches occur on the top-most leaves and stems first. Eventually, entire stems “rot” on the vine, turning black and slimy. There may also be patches of white spores on the leaf undersides. In the north, the pathogen overwinters in buried potato tubers. In the south, it easily survives the winter.

Prevent: The spores of this disease are fast-spreading, moving on the wind for miles. If you live in the northern half of the continent, do not purchase potatoes and tomatoes that were grown in the south as you may inadvertently introduce late blight spores to your garden. This is not a common pathogen, but if late blight is reported in your area, there is little you can do to prevent the disease because the spores spread so rapidly. Plant only locally grown plants to help keep the pathogen out of your area.

Manage: Once late blight strikes, there is little you can do. Tear out the plants, put them in a garbage bag, and throw them out to keep the disease from spreading. Organic fungicides based on Bacillus subtilis are somewhat effective in preventing this tomato plant disease when it’s first discovered in your area.

Late blight tomato disease

Late blight is an extremely difficult tomato disease. It’s not common, but it is troublesome.

Septoria leaf spot

Identifiy: Appearing as tiny, round splotches on the leaves, this tomato disease (Septoria lycopersici) typically starts on the lowest leaves first. The spots have dark brown edges and lighter centers, and there are usually many spots on each leaf. Infected leaves eventually turn yellow and then brown, and fall off.

Prevent: Remove diseased tomato plants at the end of the season to prevent the spores from overwintering in the garden. Cut off and destroy infected leaves as soon as you spot them and disinfect pruning equipment before moving from one plant to another.

Manage: Organic fungicides based on copper or Bacillus subtilis are effective against septoria leaf spot, especially when used as a preventative measure.

Septoria leaf spot tomato disease

Septoria leaf spot is a tomato disease that produces splotches and spots on the foliage and can reduce yields.

Southern bacterial wilt

Identify: Unfortunately, once present, Southern bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum) is a tomato plant disease that spreads like wildfire. It’s soil-borne, but the bacteria that cause this tomato disease can travel by soil, water, plant debris, and even on clothes, tools, and skin. It’s naturally found in tropical regions and greenhouses, but it can arrive in the garden via infected plants that were purchased from other areas. Initial symptoms include the wilting of just a few leaves on a plant, while the rest of the foliage appears healthy. Over time, more and more leaves wilt and turn yellow until all the leaves succumb, though the stem remains upright. Slimy ooze threads out of the cut stems, and when they’re placed in water, milky streams of bacteria stream out of the cut.

Prevent: Southern bacterial wilt is soil borne and can survive for long periods in the soil on roots and plant debris. Like many other tomato diseases, it favors high temperatures and high humidity. The best way to prevent this disease is to purchase and plant only locally grown plants, or grow your own plants from seed. Southern bacterial wilt is more common in warmer regions, but has been found in Massachusetts and other northern regions as well.

Manage: There is no cure for this disease. Once confirmed, immediately remove infected plants  and discard them in the trash.

Verticillium wilt

Identify: This fungal disease is caused by several soil-borne pathogens (Verticillium spp.). When present in a tomato plant, they block the vascular tissue in the plant and cause the leaves and stems to wilt. Symptoms progress slowly, often one stem at a time. Eventually, the entire plant yellows and withers. To confirm diagnosis, cut through the main stem of the plant and look for dark brown discoloration inside. Verticillum wilt is most problematic in late summer.

Prevent: Verticillium fungi can survive for many years in the soil and on plants. They thrive in slightly cooler summer temperatures (between 70 and 80 degrees F). Plant only resistant varieties.

Manage: Once verticillium wilt occurs, there’s little you can do to control the current year’s infection. Instead, focus on preventing this tomato plant disease in future years. Soil solarization will help kill the fungal spores in the top few inches of soil. Practice crop rotation: do not plant other members of the same plant family in that same planting area for at least four years after the infection.

Many soil-borne tomato diseases aren’t as problematic when the plants are grown in containers. Check out this video introducing 5 of the best varieties of tomatoes for growing in containers. 

With an eye toward prevention and employing early management practices as soon as a disease is spotted, you’ll be able to grow a terrific crop of tomatoes each and every season.

Book on growing tomatoes in containers

For more on growing great tomatoes, check out the following posts:
The best companion plants for tomatoes
Tomato growing secrets for a big harvest
5 Tips for growing tomatoes in raised beds
How to grow tomatoes from seeds
Top tomato varieties from the experts

Do you have a favorite tomato variety you grow every year? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!

Pin it!Identify and manage tomato diseases organically with these tips.

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55 Responses to How to identify and control tomato plant disease

  1. Gerry says:

    Very informative! I was looking for some info on fungus on the tomato itself like black spots on the bottoms like a southern polar cap! Any and all advice or info would be greatly appreciated.

    • HI Gerry – It sounds like you have blossom end rot, which is not a fungal issue but rather a physiological issue that’s caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruit. It doesn’t mean you have a calcium deficiency in your soil, however. It just means the calcium can’t get into the plant because of inconsistent watering. Be sure to water your tomato plants very deeply and regularly. Do not allow them to dry out to the point of wilting in between waterings. If you grow them in containers, you’ll need to water daily during hot weather and make sure you choose a very large pot (10-15 gallons of potting mix is best).

  2. Cheryl says:

    I’m tomato plant leaves are brown along the edges. There are no blemishes on the leaves except the browning on the edges. I feed them Miracle Gro for tomatoes once a week, water them once or twice daily depending on the weather, and they get at least 6 hrs of direct sunlight daily. I live in Reno where the sun is very hot. I’m at about 4500 ft. I have looked for the leaf condition on-line to no avail.
    Can you shed some light on this condition?

  3. Suzanne says:

    Up until now August 9th my tomatoes have been great..but going out today there is some sort of rot at the bottom of the tomato and the leaves have sort of shriveled and curled up. Oddly enough this same rot was on the bottom of some green peppers in the next garden over…have you seen this before? If so how do I deal with it..there are still a lot of tomatoes on this plant.

    • Both your tomatoes and peppers have blossom end rot. This is a symptom of inconsistent irrigation that leads to a calcium deficiency within the developing fruits. Be sure to water your plants deeply and regularly to avoid this problem in the future. Mulching helps too. Periods of time where the plants are dry enough to wilt will often result in blossom end rot.

  4. Suzanne Williams says:

    Hi, my lovely tomato plant has suddenly developed this. A neighboring pepper plant has this on it as well…can you please tell me what this is and how to fix it.

    • This is blossom end rot. It’s a sign of a calcium deficiency that results from inconsistent irrigation. Make sure your tomato plants are watered deeply and consistently all season long. Periods of dry soil will result in blossom end rot.

  5. Kathy Gray says:

    My tomatoes have rings around the top 1/4 of the tomato. Doesn’t appear to affect the taste or anything else.

    • Those rings are often a varietal issue with some types being more prone than others. It could also be due to fluctuations in soil moisture levels. Mulching the plants well with a layer of straw should help.

  6. Leslie says:

    2 brandywine plants, size by side developed curled up leaves early in summer, the whole plant and all summer. Tomatoes were very mis-shaped. Looked like heirlooms, lots of folds and ridges. Tasted bad. We had a 3 week drought through june/July but kept everything well watered. Only those 2 plants were curly, but all plants were just disappointing this year. Very few usable tomatoes . Any ideas or suggestions?

    • Brandywine is a variety that’s prone to leaf curl, though it typically is just a physiological disorder that doesn’t affect the flavor of the fruits. Brandywine’s tomatoes are often distorted on the bottom (called cat-facing) but again that should not affect the flavor. I suggest trying a variety called ‘Brandyboy’ next season as it has the flavor of Brandywine with less of a tendency to develop leaf curl and cat-facing.

  7. Fred Holman says:

    Two years now with blight – hardly any tomatoes. Rotated the crops – but no help. Next season I am using black plastic – plant tomatoes through the plastic – mulch on top… Should I install soaker hose under the plastic? And – does this sound like a good idea?

    • Yes; it sounds like a great idea. I’d suggest putting the soaker hoses under the plastic to ensure irrigation water is able to get down to the roots. Also, don’t plant all your tomatoes on the same day. Stagger your plantings which can also stifle the spread of disease.

  8. Tenniel Wolgemuth says:

    My tomato seedlings have developed white spots and the leaves are falling off. The spots are on the stalk as well. Can you help me?

    • It’s tough to say what this could be without seeing the plants, but it sounds like it could be either from too much light (sunscald) or a fungal issue, though damping off is the most common fungal issue on tomato seedlings and it doesn’t cause white spots but rather the seedlings just turn to mush and drop over at soil level.

  9. Richard Burkhart says:

    What causes leaf curl? I read about the Brandywine variety, but mine are what I plant year after year, Celebrity and Hybrid Cherry varieties which do well in our Texas climate. Large healthy vines but all of a sudden top portion of the vines, new leaves curling and stems climbing to cling to something. These are in a raised bed container, good soil and lots of organic compost and fertilizer. Lots and lots of rain this spring, leaves are not turning yellow, good drainage. Help me please.

    • Leaf curl is often a varietal issue, meaning that some varieties are more prone to it than others. The reason why some varieties curl is due to a number of factors, including genetics, transpiration rates, and more. Curling can also be a sign of underwatering. Make sure you’re irrigating your tomato plants deeply and less frequently. Apply one inch of water to each plant per week in a single watering session; do not water tomatoes a little bit every day. Tomatoes need deep, penetrating irrigation, not shallow irrigation. I use an empty tuna can to determine when one inch of water has been applied. I turn the sprinkler on and let it run until the tuna can is full. Every sprinkler is different, but for mine, I have to leave the sprinkler on for about 3 hours to get an inch of water in the can. If you have soaker hoses, dig a shallow hole in the soil and install the can beneath the soaker hose so it catches the water coming out of it. When the can is full, you know the soaker hoses have added an inch of water to the soil.

  10. Linda Ortego says:

    My Tomatoes fruit have black spots on the side of the tomato. What causes this and what can I do.

    • If there is one black spot that’s more toward the bottom of the fruit, it could be blossom-end rot which is due to inconsistent watering that leads to a calcium deficiency in the developing fruit. Be sure to keep your plants regularly watered. If there are several spots all over the fruit, it’s likely to be either early or late blight. Follow the instructions in the post for management techniques.

  11. Shannon Miller says:

    Hi , hoping you can help me , i have a small garden and have grown in it now for 3 years consistently but last year i let it rest and planted nothing. This year i planted my tomato plants started wilting one by one like a disease had went from one to another. I pulled the first tomato plant that had wilted so as to not spread to the other plants , but it slowly wilted 3 more of my plants one by one . I have grown a garden for the last 15 years and never had a problem . Do you have any suggestions what could be wrong and what i could do about it ? Much thanks ahead of time.

  12. Tera says:

    Hi, I am on my second year of doing hightunnel tomatoes. I have celebrities and better boys. The problem is that they seem stunted and the leaves are uncurling weird on the top or not really uncurling at all. The plants are all looking a little distorted this year. We have them on soakers hoses and they get plenty of water. We have checked for mites and aphids and dont see anything. They just aren’t growing like they should. They do have physiological leaf roll on the lower leaves but the top is something different. Can you help me?

    • That sounds like either thrips or broad mites, both of which are common on high tunnel tomatoes and peppers and are difficult to diagnose. Tapping the distorted leaves over a sheet of white paper and using a hand lens to examine what’s crawling on the paper is often the only way to confirm their presence. Thrips can be managed by introducing minute pirate bugs or certain species of predatory mites into the high tunnel, and broad mites can be managed by releasing predatory mites. Here’s the website where I get my biocontrols:

  13. Barbara Patzer says:

    I’m growing a tomato plant in a pot. It is producing good tomatoes, but the leaves have recently gotten a purplish cast to then starting at the edges.
    I’d like to stay organic. Is there anything I can do to heal the plant, or do I need a pesticide or herbacide.

    • This sounds like a definite nutritional issue, not pathogen related. I’d be sure to use an organic liquid fertilizer every week or two throughout the growing season.

  14. Kristine says:

    My tomatoes are in large pots. The leaves are losing losing the deep green coloration and turning a lime green. On one of the plants the leaves are folding lengthwise.

    • Sounds like a nutritional issue. Be sure to use high-quality potting soil mixed 50/50 with finished compost. Then fertilize with an organic liquid fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks throughout the growing season.

  15. William schechinger says:

    My tomato plants are healthy and setting on a lot of fruit but as soon as they start to get a good size the tomato turns brown and rots from the top down even before any pink shows. I am treating them with a fungicide. What could be the problem?

    • Sounds like blossom end rot is to blame. Consistent and deep watering is key to preventing this physiological disorder. Fungicides will not prevent or treat blossom end rot because it isn’t pathogen-related.

  16. Thomas Brophy says:

    wow, what an interesting series of comments and answers, And I thought I had problems with critters and bugs! I’m sure I’ve had several of the tomato diseases and issues with inconsistent watering described by others. During growing seasons when I’m not too lazy, I construct a frame over the tomato bed using (cheap) 1/2 inch conduit, which I bend to a mirror half and join together with a coupling. These are stabilized by an 18 inch piece of iron rebar driven halfway into the ground , with the hollow conduit placed over. An additional length of conduit attached to the hoops stabilizes them front to back. Then plastic sheeting can be placed over, shortened up as weather heats up , but still as a top cover to prevent rain induced pathogens, or hail damage. BUT. you have to water, deeply, every couple of days.

  17. George says:

    All 7 plants have fruit but now these 2 lost their flowers. I cut off the leaves with yellow spots. I also sprayed with copper. Can I reverse it this from happening? Is it the fertilizer or something else?

    • Flowers will abort when temperatures are above 90 degrees F. Cooler weather spells will bring new flowers. The yellow spots are likely due to blight. Copper sprays will help, but they can be toxic to pollinators. I recommend organic fungicides, such as Serenade, instead. Fertilize with an organic liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks.

  18. Francesco Martiradonna says:

    This year, to eliminate weeds invasion, I decided to cover my tomato plants with the red tomato plastic which is suggested for tomatoes. This plastic has no holes to let water penetrate or oxygen to the plants. I cut some openings where I planted and punched some tiny holes to let it drain because when raining heavily it would sit on top of the plastic. When I plant, I dig a deep hole, use a slow release granular and add in the hole a tablespoon of horticultural lime. I always had great healthy crops but this year in the last 2 weeks I had to throw out a dozen tomatoes that were changing color but the hole bottom was rotted. I am tempted to rip the red plastic off and put up with the weeds, I would appreciate any suggestions or advice, thank you, Francesco Martiradonna from Orland Park, Illinois

    • You’re describing symptoms of blossom end rot which is the result of inconsistent watering. It’s extremely important that the soil stays evenly moist. Having it covered with plastic can help, but only if the plastic is taken off for the winter and early spring so the soil can absorb early season moisture. Put the plastic on at planting time, after watering the soil deeply. When you water during the growing season, target the water into the opening where the tomato stem is emerging.

  19. Betsy Wells says:

    My tomatoes have septoria leaf spot which has moved quickly to cover most of the plant. Are the tomatoes on these plants safe to eat?

  20. Kruti says:

    Hi, all my tomatoes have cuts on them that turn brown. Haven’t had a single tomato that doesn’t have it. Are these tomatoes rotten? Should I be eating then at all? Also I noticed some rats eating the tomatoes from the plant. Should I just get rid of the plant?

    • It sounds like your tomato fruits are cracking. Some varieties are more prone to cracking than others. Tomatoes also crack when a period of dry is followed by a lot of moisture. Under these conditions, the fruits absorb a lot of water and the skin cracks. You can eat the fruits as long as they haven’t developed rot. I would suggest planting several different varieties next season since some are more prone to splitting than others. As for the rats, that’s a whole other issue. Set some rat traps baited with peanut butter. I would not recommend eating any of the tomatoes that the rats have nibbled on.

  21. Edwin Grosvenor says:

    Excellent article, Jessica. Thank you so much.
    I have had luck with Iron Lady tomatoes here in Maryland. They are the only tomato that has been able to last most of the season without dying. The fruit are not as luscious as other varieties, but the plant is not dead, either. They have to be grown from seed as they are not available in nurseries, Home Depot, or Lowes.

    • I’ve heard good things about Iron Lady’s disease resistance. I haven’t tried them myself, because I was worried about the flavor. Sounds like they might be a good choice to try, though, if your disease pressure is really high. Thanks for the tip!

  22. Greg H says:

    I’m loving the information here. I’m a new tomato grower with 5 plants in very large clay pots elevated onto bricks for drainage. I planted with bag soil that included fertilizer and added a couple inches of shaved pine mulch on top of each. My 3 determinant tomato plants are doing great but one indeterminate plants has a problem with brown spots on leaves in middle and jagged cuts along edges, but no yellowing at all. I have pictures of the front and back of plants and just recently it has spread to neighbor leaves that touched the plant. I don’t know if it’s a fungus or a bug and I need help. Wish I could post a pic. Huh. Today I cut all all effected leaves and on they plant that’s only 12-15” y’all I cut at least the bottom 8” of stems off and and leaves or stems on neighboring plants too. Is there a way to send you a picture to get the right fix?? Thank you for all you do.

    • Hi Greg – We aren’t able to do individual consults like that, but it does sound like it could be a fungal pathogen. You did the right thing by trimming off all the infected leaves. I would suggest using a natural fungicide such as Serenade as well.

  23. Jenny says:

    Hi there! Jenny from Wisconsin here! I planted my tomato plant in a pot like I usually do- changed the soil and all that. The plant was doing fantastic. Overnight the leaves started to look brown an wilted- the brown is really on the edges while the rest of the leaf is green. I gave the plant miracle grow tomato food and it has only gotten worse. Within 3 days the whole plant has brown edged leaves. Is this fixable? OR should I buy a new plant and start over. 🙁 The weather has been pretty nice- sunny, some rain and 70-80 temps.

    • Sounds like you may have over-fertilized. Chemical-based fertilizers, like miracle grow, are based on salts. When you add too much of them, the salts build up in the leaf edges and cause burns like the ones you describe. I would flush the pot out with lots and lots of water, allowing it to drain out the hole in the bottom. Then don’t fertilize again for a month, and use an organic liquid fertilizer instead which has a reduced chance of fertilizer burn.

  24. Erin says:

    Thank you for your post and participating in the discussion below, Jessica!
    A few of our tomato transplants seemed to succumb to damping off with the cold wet Calgary spring. Now 4 of our more established plants also have browning and thinning at the stem at soil level. They are receiving less daylight than the others. Do you think this is a different type of infection? Can anything be done?

    • Is it possible that you have cutworms in your soil? They sometimes chew around the exterior of the stems at soil level. Also, be sure to keep your mulch from touching the stem. It could hold excess moisture against the stem and cause rot.

  25. Patrick Sorensen says:

    Such helpful comments. I have an indeterminate tomato plant in a pot getting routine deep watering. The flowers form in profusion but before the fruit appears the blossom stalk will yellow, bend and then break off. This started before temps reached high 80’s and 90’s. The plant appears healthy and was fertilizer with a stake fertilizer for tomatoes. The plant next to it is of a different variety, is loaded with cherry tomatoes and continues to produce.

    • Hi Patrick – Sounds like it might be a varietal issue. Beefsteak-type tomatoes often drop several flowers from each cluster, allowing only one to remain and form a single large fruit. It is also possible that the flowers are not being pollinated properly. Tomato blossoms are self-fertile, but they need to be “buzzed” by bumblebees (or strong wind or plant movement) in order for the pollen to be knocked loose. If you don’t have enough bumblebees around, you could try holding an electric toothbrush on the flower stem, just beneath the bloom. Hold it there for about three to five seconds. That’s enough to knock the pollen loose and fertilize the flower. Mimics the buzz pollination of bumblebees.

  26. Tom Dyvad says:

    The bottom of my tomatoes are rotting every one on three plants

    • Sounds like classic blossom end rot. It’s not a disease but rather a physiological disorder caused by a lack of calcium in the growing fruit. Calcium can only get into the plant with water, so while there’s likely plenty of calcium in your soil, it can’t get into the plant due most often to inconsistent watering. Tomatoes must be watered very deeply and be kept consistently moist. The plants should not be allowed to completely dry out between watreings. Dig down into the soil after you water and the moisture should go down at least 5 inches into the soil. If it doesn’t, you need to water more deeply.

  27. Emma says:

    Hi Jessica,
    We had heavy rains from where I am at and noticed that there were black mildew like spots on my tomato leaves. Can this be cured? Something can be done about it or should I start over? They are on delicious and purple Cherokee on flowering stage.

  28. Ron says:

    My tomato plants have never developed. They are just a small basketball sized clump of deformed leaves and stems. Not many flowers and fruit at all

    • Is it possible that your plants were exposed to herbicides? If you put weed and feed on your lawn and it came into the garden via rainwater, that will cause deformation of the leaves and stunted growth. Make sure you don’t use treated grass clippings in your lawn or compost pile either.

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