Tomatoes are turning yellow from the bottom up

reallyrandyFebruary 11, 2011

I can't figure it out. Plenty of sun and water, planted in Miracle grow. It started with the first 2 plants turning yellow on the bottom, then the yellow spread towards the top. Now a third plant has symptoms. All after growing vigorously for 10 weeks. I have 2 others as seen in the 4th photo that are still doing OK.

Contrary to popular belief, tomato growing is not easy. This is the second year and I'm not doing any better.

Here's some pictures, should I pull them up and start over? From Recently Updated From Recently Updated From Recently Updated From Recently Updated

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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Looks like old age, that's what they do....

Tom

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 4:53PM
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swamptribe

I'd guess old age too. Mine looked like that when they were nearing the end of their spans.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 5:05PM
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loufloralcityz9

reallyrandy,
That is normal as the leaves and little branches on a tomato plant will slowly die from the bottom up.
If they are still producing I just clear the dead stuff off so it doesn't draw any disease to the rest of the plant.

Lou

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 6:20PM
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reallyrandy

I forgot to mention that they're only 3 months old. The tomatoes you see on their vines are the first ones produced. They haven't even ripened yet.

At first I thought it might be to much water retention so I got those little clay spikes to detect wetness, but they dry everyday in between waterings so that's probably not it. I had bad luck with tomatoes last year as well, same problem. They grow like gangbusters and then right when they start fruiting, they die. I'm thinking of replanting either in smart pots or earth boxes.

What do you think? From Recently Updated

From Recently Updated

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 10:02AM
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loufloralcityz9

reallyrandy,
Do your tubs have drain holes at the bottom? It's hard for me to see any drain holes in them.
If the tubs don't have drain holes, the water will puddle up below and you'll get root rot.
Root rot will cause early decline of the plant, the top dirt will appear dry while the bottom is swimming.
Potting soil compaction will also cause early decline as the air cannot get to the roots.
Water should move down through quickly and leak out the bottom wetting roots & not soaking them.
The water & air reaction is what releases soil nutrients to the roots to feed the plants.
I'm guessing the tubs are working great until the excess water starts to puddle up below drowning the roots.
It's very hard to tell exactly the cause from looking at pictures on a computer.

Lou

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 11:00AM
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gardengimp(9B Seminole Cnty FL)

You could dump out one of the containers and see what the soil is like 6", 12" and bottom. If it is too wet; you could go around to all the pots and punch holes in the lower sides to improve water drainage. Or, elevate them on some bricks.

~dianne

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 1:06PM
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bluesky7

Right, possible drainage problem, or maybe they could use some more nitrogen fertilizer either granular or organic.

--
Sheri

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 4:10PM
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oukay

So this doesn't necessarily mean they have blight or some other unmentionable? I always thought I had allowed mine to get diseased when they started looking like this.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 5:23PM
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reallyrandy

OK, here's what I've done. I had drilled about 40 quarter inch holes in the tubs around the bottom perimeter. Maybe that's not cutting it so I've now drilled 12 more half inch holes in each tub for better drainage. I've also put them up off the ground.
From Plants

I potted a new tomato, an Atkinson with a sweet basil in the same pot. I found a potting mix that looks really good.
From Plants

Here's the bag:
From Plants

I mixed 2 bags of that with a small bag of Perlite and about 1/5th coarse sand:
From Plants

Here it is, we'll see what happens.
From Plants

Hopefully my damaged tomatoes will come back. I only have six and three are not looking good. On the bright side, my pole and bush beans are looking good. They are in the ground though.
Thanks for all your help so far. You guys are great!

Randy

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 7:18PM
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loufloralcityz9

Randy,
I think you just took care of the problem, quarter inch holes are way too small and will plug up too easy.
That is why it worked for a while (until the holes plugged up) then went on decline when the water puddled inside.
If you look at the black plastic pots you buy, the holes are big to keep them from plugging up.

Lou

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 7:52PM
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bluesky7

To encourage you, I've always had good success with my tomatoes. This year they were very stubborn and looked like they wouldn't make it for a couple of months. They're the Big Boy variety. I put some Miracle Gro type fertilizer on them and they're really taking off! Nice and green, full, and tomatoes finally coming on them.

Sheri

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 2:19AM
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atreya

I heard from others south of me lots of crops are failing. Probably due to the chemicals being sprayed almost daily from airplanes. You might have to grow indoors to get around this. Perlite added to soil will definitely help reduce rot.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 2:35AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

You don't need a lot of drainage holes, doesn't matter if it's one or one hundred, that just affects how quickly the water will drain out but as Lou said, if the hole diameter is too small and the end result is plugging that's another story all together.

The real issue is in how you make your potting mix so that it meets all the needs of the plant and it's roots. Using sand in your mix can become problematic, as it compacts your perched water table is going to rise and you'll have muck again at the bottom even though the top mix will be dry.

Study this post to get a better feel for soil dynamics.

Tom

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 8:30AM
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