Something's wrong with my tomatoes

happygardener23June 9, 2011

I'm not sure if it's a disease or pest but it's damaging about half of my tomato plants. I'm hoping that it's something that they'll grow through since it's still so early in the season, but I'd like to find out what it is so that I can address it sooner than later.

The pics should say it all. I haven't noticed anything of the crawly sort when I look at the leaves but I might be missing something

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

EEk, that's damage from the Four Lined Plant Bug. You're right...the pictures DO say it all.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 10:32PM
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happygardener23

Really? I have an ongoing 4 lined bug problem in my front flower beds but these plants are around the back in containers and I've never seen any sign of the bugs on them (no "spittle" bits, no little red/black nymphs or mature yellow/black bugs). Ugh, I so hate those bugs! You really think that's the answer?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:56AM
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happygardener23

Ok, I really think that it's something else. I looked very carefully at the damaged leaves and I don't see anything that resembles a 4 lined bug in any stage. In fact, I only found one little critter on all of the plants that I looked at. It's this guy (sorry for the blurry pics. He was only about the size of a pin head so I needed extreme close up):

another view:

Also, as I look at the leaves it's now advancing beyond just the brownish spots to larger holes/slits:

This leaf has been chewed from both sides almost clear off and the one next to it has a big chunk missing:

and on some of the plants, the stems/leaves are starting to curl under:

So what IS this problem? It's driving me batty. I'll be heartbroken if it takes out my tomatoes!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:51AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

The leaf chewing is unrelated to the spotting, which to me looks fungal from here, but I'm a westerner. Are you overhead watering? Foliar feeding?

Dan

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 12:59PM
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happygardener23

I am not overhead watering although we have had several bouts of heavy rains. I mixed an organic fert. in with the soil mix when I planted them out (they're in containers) and have not done anything else yet. A couple of them were showing mild signs of this spotting before I potted them up, when they were still seedlings (they were wintersown in cups using MG organic potting soil).

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 1:40PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

I am one of those who eschews and recommends against organic fert in containers. Plenty of discussion why on Container Forum. I'm wondering if this is only on the older lvs and if so may be something the plants grow out of.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:44PM
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happygardener23

Dan, I know I've been taken to task before in the container forum for my stubborn use of organic ferts, but I really don't think that's involved here. For one, I've done it for years and never seen anything like this and secondly some leaves were showing this spotting before they had been potted up into these containers and they were just in MG organic potting soil which I'm fairly confident isn't all that organic anyway.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 4:05PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

It looks to me like the black portion of the spot is an opportunistic fungus taking advantage of some necrotic tissue rather than septoria. The second pic up top looks like damage from hardening off or lf touching something when wet then exposed to sunlight. We get that here from using Walls O water.

If it doesn't spread then that's what you have from here.

.02

Dan

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 6:10PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

that little critter is an aphid. doesn't make holes.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:36PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

An aphid MUMMY, to be exact....a parasitized aphid.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 12:03AM
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