Tomato Problem: Tobacco Mosiac Virus or Environmental Stress?

widespreadpanicMay 28, 2011

I've got a major problem with my tomatoes. The branches are curling/coiling up and the leaves are leathery and brittle and also curling upwards. The new growth doesn't have this problem, it starts with the older leaves and works upward. My plants did the same thing last year, I'm wondering if the Tobacco Mosaic Virus was the culprit last year and now this year it has been re-infected. I don't know much about the TMV, and what I've read online hasn't convinced me whether or not this is the problem.

The fruit seems to be developing normally. I thought perhaps the issue was an environmental issue, here's a list of things I've altered checked:

Started using reverse osmosis water instead of tap water.

Changed nutrients from GH Floramato to Hydro-Gardens commercial tomato formula.

Altered flood/drain schedule various different ways.

None of these changes had any effect.

I have a garden hose with a metal end attached to a pump that is attached to my aquarium chiller. Could the low ph of the water be degrading the metal and producing some sort of metal toxicity?

Also I have a family of tree frogs living in my reservoir so there is a small amount of frog excrement in my reservoir.

All of my plants are different types of heirloom tomatoes.

Thanks for your time to read this and hopefully help me with a diagnosis and solution.

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ethnobotany

I may not be able to give you a really good diagnosis, but I will say that within the first two seconds of seeing your pictures, my thoughts screamed nutrient burn.

Now then, in order for others here to make a proper diagnosis they will probably ask you for the following:

- Type of nutrients used
- Feeding schedule/ any deviations
- pH of the systems, and a log of this if possible
- average temperature since the occurence of this curling (both ambient and reservoir)

P.S. Unless you are "organically" growing, frogs living in the reservoir sounds like a bad idea to me...

Also, I just want to add that I noticed every single one of your plants is exhibiting these signs. Due to the sheer probability of every one of them getting TMV at the same time, two years in a row.... This seems a little... against the grain in those terms, if you know what I mean. I have to stick with the nutrient burn!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 2:27AM
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widespreadpanic

Yeah, I thought it seemed intuitive that it was user error and not disease.

Here are some more details:

my ph stays from 5.8-6.2
my reservoir temp is 69-72 degrees

outdoor temp is in the low eighties to mid eighties

my current flood cycle is every two hours, I have also tried once every six hours.

my e.c. is 1.0-1.5, I have tried higher amounts but the plants didn't seem to feed more.

I have been mixing my nutrients (chem-gro 4-18-38, calcium nitrate, magnesium sulfate) to the manufacturers instructions with reverse osmosis water.
The only thing I haven't done is add calcium chloride as directed by manuf. if base water has under 50 ppm calcium.

Could it be a calcium deficiency?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:25AM
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ethnobotany

Hmm, after looking around and doing some research, it definitely could be calcium deficiency. I also did some searching about magnesium deficiency, and I tell you what, that is also a possibility!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 1:24PM
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widespreadpanic

So maybe I should order some calmag and try to birds with one stone?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 2:46PM
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ethnobotany

I would go with that idea for sure. If that doesn't work, then we know it has to be something else! Process of elimination can be effective, can't it : )

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 5:33PM
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ethnobotany

Widespread, did the calmag work??

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 1:25PM
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grizzman

I don't think its calcium, though it could be magnesium. the leaves curling inward and upward though is not indicative of a decifiency. you can use epsom salts to boost the magnesium level.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:24PM
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artwk(5)

looks like a bunch of micro deficiencies to me. Copper and Zinc? I'd try dropping the ph to 5.5 and letting it drift back up to 6.0 over a few days.

Have you been adding Mg? Too much Mg can lockout micronutrients and really green up the plants.

Here is a site with some good pictures on deficiencies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Guide

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 11:56PM
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widespreadpanic

I haven't added calmag b/c I have to order it online; there is no hydro store anywhere nearby.

I haven't been adjusting my ph downwards b/c after I add my nutrients it usually is around a 5.8, though it does drift upwards.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I will once by one try them out, I'll send a prize to the one who helps me figure it out!

I was thinking a $30 gift certificate to wormsway or some other hydro store.

Keep the ideas/thoughts flowing, I'm sooooo out of my league.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 12:07AM
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bbrush

doesn't look like mag deficiency to me, number 3 pic looks mosaic like to me.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 4:36AM
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sdgrower

Calcium is not mobile in the plant so you would see the deficiency in the new leaves not the old.. if your new leaves are fine then it is not calcium deficiency. The yellowing looks like a picture of mag deficiency from a book I have, but it does not mention about the leaves curling like that due to mag. It does mention mag can be blocked out if your running high potassium in your nutrients.
I would try some epsom salts like grizzman suggested, probably the cheapest/easiest/safest next test. I will keep my fingers crossed it is not TMV... let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 11:47AM
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widespreadpanic

bbrush:

The picture number 3 was taken on the very bottom branch of growth on one of the plants.

None of the middle to newer growth exhibit either the curl or the "death" gold of pic 3.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 9:34PM
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artwk(5)

out of curiosity what is the origin of these plants? Did they come from soil? How long have they been in the system?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 10:29PM
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widespreadpanic

bbrush:

The picture number 3 was taken on the very bottom branch of growth on one of the plants.

None of the middle to newer growth exhibit either the curl or the "death" gold of pic 3.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:29AM
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joe.jr317

Have you done a thorough inspection for insect damage? Particularly mites or hoppers. Kind of early for them in some places, but lots of bugs are out a lot earlier this year.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:19AM
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jamesvlad

I think it could be a toxicity of micronutrients. Have you calculated the final concentrations of the micronutrients?
Maybe Zinc and Manganese concentration is high.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 11:20PM
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hex2006

I`d give them a good flush with plain ph`d water while checking the EC of the run-off, that`ll give you a clean slate and rules out toxicity/salt buildup causing a nute lockout. Run on light nutes for the following 3-4 days as it`ll take that long to see a difference.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 11:03PM
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