FYI: Info On Tomato Purple Leaf Disease

Okiedawn OK Zone 7July 21, 2009

This is just an informational post because we have some avid tomato growers here.

I stumbled across this thread on the Tomato Pest and Disease Forum the other day and thought it interesting.

I haven't seen this disease before and don't know of anyone in our part of the country who has.

I just think it is good to stay up to date on the latest tomato diseases.

When Jay and I and others talk about purpling on tomato leaves, we generally mean the faintest tinges of purple that often indicate environmental stress or a nutritional deficiency. We are not discussing this disease.

If you ever were to see this exact disease on your plants, you probably should notify OSU or your county agriculture extension agent because they would want to know a new disease has appeared in Oklahoma.

It is very unlikely any of us will ever see this, but I thought the thread and the 2 links embedded within it would be of interest to avid tomato growers.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Purple Leaf Disease thread

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Thanks for the post. Always good to read new information although I hope i never need to know it on my plants here. Yes the purpling I talk about is normally on the bottom of the leaf ad usually the veins. And I've found usually is stress or deficiency. But can be a sigh of an insect vectored disease in some cases. Jay

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 12:07AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I was trying to imagine how pretty of a tomato plant one would have if they were growing 'Variegated' or 'Splash of Cream' and then it got this purple leaf disease. I think a tomato plant with healthy green and variegated foliage would look gorgeous if you could add the purple. I suppose, though, that it will never happen since we choose our plants for the flavorful tomatoes they produce and not for pretty foliage.

I don't have a lot of experience with insect-vectored diseses and I hope I can continue to say that, so I don't often see purpling unless it is early in the spring and has to do with nutrient uptake or cold weather or both.

I do hope the scientists in Florida and elsewhere figure out the purple leaf thing though, because it is worrisome as long as no one knows why it occurs or whether it is stoppable.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 1:47PM
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I have been trying to find tomato plants in my local area since I didn't start any for fall (a big mistake). I have checked three places now. One had already closed for the season, one had so-so looking plants but not any varity I wanted to grow and the third one had almost dead plants. LOL I saw a couple that didn't look too bad but when I got closer to them one plant had leaves that were turning purple.....not totally purple, but not the nutrition defiency purple veins and leaf backs of early spring. This purple was on the leaf tips and edges of the leaves. It was in a big box store. I sure didn't want to take that one home.

I sure don't want to drive all the way to Tulsa, but I'm not sure I will find any that I like up here.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 5:38PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


If I lived as close to Tulsa as you do (not that you're close, but you're so much closer than I am!), I'd insist upon a road trip to the Tomato Man's Daughter's place before she stops selling fall plants. Remember, she's only open half a week and only thru the first weekend in August.

I wonder if that purple plant you saw came from Florida? I'm glad we're in the hot and steamy southern plains so at least we don't have to worry about late blight on tomato transplants like the folks in the northeast. I have bought a handful of Bonnie's Plants for fall, but have kept them segregated from my own seedlings for a couple of weeks. They show no signs of illness, and I didn't expect them to, but thought I'd just be extra-careful in light of what has happened this year.

I hate to say this, because I don't want for anyone here to throw sticks and stones at me, but my spring plants are hanging in there really well and producing heavily which leaves me with very little space to plant the fall plants. I guess I am going to have to 'squeeze in' the fall plants into some odd corners and unused spots so I don't have to take out my spring plants too early. It isn't often that the spring plants still are doing this well this late in the season, but the wacky weather worked out OK for them. They got the worst case ever of Septoria Leaf Spot in June when it was raining and hot, but I cut off all the affected foliage (which left some plants very naked) and now they are rebounding nicely. It helped that the high temperatures are now in the low 90s instead of 100+ and it also helps now that the nights are cooler. The plants mostly produced late, but heavily. I am almost to the point of being tired of tomatoes, but that's only because I had to process 20 gallons of them today. The nice thing about that is that the whole house smells like tomatoes.

I have the best luck finding fall tomato plants in stores here around July 4th. I am not sure if they are leftover spring plants or one lonely shipment of fall tomatoes, but one week they are in the stores, and the next week they're gone, so I try to get 'em when I see 'em.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 6:15PM
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I mentioned in another thread that I had gone down to TMD the day before she opened because I happened to be in Tulsa. They had a chain across the drive and were just starting to put out plants. I had thought that I would be back in town last Saturday, but when my grandson went home, his Dad met me in another town. I have had company from Tennessee all week and they are staying until Saturday. On Sunday I have more company arriving. LOL

It is about an hour and a half to drive to TMD so I doubt that I can find 3 free hours to drive down, especially since it is only weekends. I looked at Lisa's selection and she is growing some that I would really like to have, but that is a really long drive for a few plants. I bought from her Dad one year, but since then I have always started my own. I would have started them this year if I had known that I could get my garden ready in time for fall planting. It may still be a fight as I am sure new grass will sprout, but maybe I can keep up with it. I have planted several things, and we have had 1.8 inches of rain this week so they should get off to a good start. Too bad I didn't have tomato plants in there already.

We were trying to get as much tilled as we could while it was still dry so the earthworms would be lower and we wouldn't chop any. We got about half of it done, but had re-sprayed some of the other and wanted to make sure we had a good kill there before we tilled. My backyard has always been about half garden and half grass and it was hard to keep the grass from creeping in so we just killed it all out and made all of it garden. It is fenced with chain link then has smaller wire all around the bottom. It is pretty well rabbit proof. One gate has to have blocks under it and I noticed my DH had moved them so a friend could come in with his wheelchair, so I have to make sure to put them back before the beans start sprouting. I poured concrete under the other gate. I think the fox keep the rabbit population pretty well controlled now, but we see a few. The area of our yard we really use, for cook-outs, flowers, etc. is on the south side of our house instead of the back yard. We have an extra lot there so we have plenty of space.

I may have more garden than I can keep up with. LOL I think it is about 40x40. I can't plant all the way to the fence line until I remove a lot of roots from all of those vining plants that had been planted on the fence. Most all of the plants have now been removed but they still have those nasty long roots that wind up around the tiller. It will still take a lot of work, but it sure beats doing dishes. LOL I love to watch things grow.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 2:08AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I have more garden than I can keep up with too, and every year at least one corner or edge gets away from me and I struggle to keep it orderly. (Sometimes, I completely lose the struggle.)

We're going to take out the cedar entry arbor and move it to a flower bed somewhere because the Johnson grass and bermuda grass keep creeping in around it and I have a hard time removing them. I love the arbor, but it is a constant problem area. If I had done things right and put down weedblock fabric under the whole arbor, and then planted through holes cut into the fabric, it would be a different story. Hindsight really is 20-20!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 9:05AM
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