Curly Tomato Leaves

westy1941(Boulder County, CO)July 24, 2014

I've experienced this before but never know how to handle it. Out of ten tomato plants, one has a severe case of curly leaf-itis. It's a Viva Italia roma. There are two of those and the other one is fine (so far). Q: should I pull it up? it has a lot of green fruit on it and it's still putting out flowers. I assume it won't die but I want to pull it if this is contagious. New to gardening in Colorado (Hi Skybird!) from Northern Illinois - what a difference is soil (if you can call it that!). But my vegetables are growing like mad.

Westy

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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

All you out-of-staters always runnin down my Colorado soil! Aint nothin wrong with it, you just have to adapt and overcome some of its minor imperfections ;).

Anyways, I usually see curly leaves early in the season, usually by now it's resolved itself. Most likely it is just caused by some kind of stress and not contagious (except for the fact that what is causing the stress in one is probably causing stress in another). Most of the time it is not a disease, but environmental. It can even be some herbicide drifting from where you were using it or a neighbors yard. You can also look through the "growing tomatoes" forum. Lots of discussions on curly leaves there.

"But all my vegetables are growing like mad"

And yet you still want to bad mouth our dirt! Jeeze! Poor ol' Colorado, it aint her fault.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:06AM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Zach - "minor" imperfections??!! LOL - that's putting it very mildly!!! I now see the value, in particular for vege's , to use raised beds with fresh, good, garden soil. But do we have that? Nope, unfortunately (just haven't been able to finance the switch, basically). So we keep amending the soil to get it in decent enough shape for our plants to be happy enough to produce for us ;).

Our tomatoes are looking pretty good this year - got about 17 plants, and each one has some green fruit developing. Our Sun Gold has been having some ripened fruit for a little while now, and we've gotten one ripe Black Krim thus far. Gotta be a little more patient for the rest to start ripening!

Westy - how's the soil moisture for your tomatoes? Leaf curl can also be a sign of under watering.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:41PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Fortunately the veggies are in raised beds, amended. It's the rest of this excavation that is the challenge - will be planting shrubs and trees in a new subdivision in Erie soon so amending like mad. But the moisture seems perfect mstywoods! I water deep once a week unless super hot then twice a week. Last year was first summer here and I watered too much and BER was on almost all. This year they look perfect except for that one plant. Crazy - it's right next to the healthy looking ones. On a drip - maybe that drip part is blocked!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 6:21PM
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mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

This spring, I went to one of O'Tooles seminars on growing tomatoes. I've been fumbling along with them the last few years, and picked up some good tips at that seminar. But I just re-read my notes, and I remembered incorrectly!! My note says curling leaves can be a sign of overwatering - not under watering!!! This site seems to confirm that as well: http://www.vegetable-gardening-with-lorraine.com/watering-tomato-plants.html

But One thing they said at the seminar about watering tomatoes is that they like to be kept evenly moist, and not the wet/dry/wet approach. They recommended either using your finger or a moisture meter to test down a couple of inches (do this test in the cool of the morning or evening, as well as do your watering at that time of day). Water when the soil is just slightly moist, rather than when dry or wet.

So that's what I've been going by, and ours do seem to be doing better this year. I'm watering more now since it's been so hot, but again only when my moisture meter is down in the lightly moist region of the dial (I didn't trust the accuracy of my finger for the test ;).

Sorry about the mistake saying they were under watered, Westy! Hope you get it figured out. Maybe post a pic - could be something besides a watering issue.

Marj

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 7:08PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

i haven't done a posted pic for three years and forgot how. Is it Photobucket I need to put them in? Which photo host is easiest for posting pix here? I'm going out to take a pic now. Westy

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:27PM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

Well, I suppose if you don't like Colorado's dirt, you could always garden somewhere else... Course then you have to give up the rest of what the Centennial State has to offer, and that's not exactly what I'd call a "fair" trade ;).

Westy, if you only want to post 1 picture at a time. at the top of the "post a follow up" box there an image file upload thingy where you can just browse through files that on your computer, double click, and it will put it in your message. (I gave up on that because it was always telling me my pictures were too big. So now, I use photo bucket.)

On another note, I was just out looking at couple volunteer plants I moved to the back yard a while back and they have some minor leaf curl. It's been a pretty cool, wet year, with some pretty big temp swings. I know that is one of many causes of leaf curl.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Westy! Nice to see you around here! And glad to hear you're learning to "appreciate" our good old Colorado Dirt!!! Hey! It works! My veggies get planted in the "real thing!" When I first moved into this house I was planting in stuff that could have qualified as potter's clay if it could have been purified! Now, ten years later--and lots and lots of "stuff" later, I'm actually starting to get something I could call Soil! And no matter how "interesting" our soil is, I wouldn't trade it for Illinois Black Dirt in a million years if that meant I had to live back there again!

About tomatoes! Here's my take! I copied this from a post I did in 2011--and I haven't changed my opinion on this at all!

Tomatoes! I've come to the grand conclusion that NOBODY actually knows for sure what the problem is when something "goes wrong" with tomatoes! Ask a dozen people, and get a dozen answers! Look at a dozen pictures that look very much the same, and it's called a dozen different things! My solution! As with almost all my stuff, I keep bad/diseased leaves cut off, and I keep them--tomatoes especially--well watered! Somebody around here recently got advice from a "professional" to leave the diseased leaves on whatever it was (think maybe tomatoes) because cutting them off could "open the plant to further infection." I disagree with that, and continue to cut off leaves! It's just the way I do it! In terms of moving them to different locations every year, this year (2011) all my tomatoes are doing fine, in spite of the fact that I've had ones that I described as "Failure to Thrive" in the same area in past years! I have little planting space, and there is no crop rotation here! I've never had blossom end rot that some people have a problem with, and I attribute that to keeping them well watered. After listening to all the "discussions" of calcium deficiencies and such when I worked at Paulino's, and seeing NO improvement there in the problem in spite of all the addition of chemicals and wringing of hands, I decided that watering was easier and cheaper--and it's been way working for me. I don't know if you can eat the tomatoes from "diseased" plants or not, BUT, when I have had a problem with tomatoes in the past, I cut off anything that looked bad and as long as what was left looked "ok" and smelled and tasted "ok," I ATE it! That's what we did when I was a kid, and it hasn't killed me yet! ;-)

2014 update! I haven't changed my mind about any of that! Last year all but one of my tomatoes did great, and I had gotten them into the ground considerably later than previously (June) so I started speculating that planting them after "everything" had warmed up might be a Good Thing! So this year I was planning to plant them late again, and, because I've been preoccupied with some non-gardening things, they got put into the ground WAY late (June 23!) and they're growing like gangbusters! No tomatoes yet, obviously, but ALL the plants look GREAT! Will wait till late again next year--but not THAT late!

About your pictures! I used to highly recommend Picasa and Picasa WebAlbums as a photo hosting site, but google screwed it all up and now WebAlbums is part of google plus, and it's a real mess, so I can't recommend it anymore! Really sad! (I can still use it the "good" way since I had it before they screwed it all up!) So PhotoBucket, or Flickr, or whichever one you pick! I don't like any of those, and really don't know what I'd do--or what I will do if I'm ever forced to switch over to the new screwed up version of WebAlbums. Just might need to stop posting pics! Hope that doesn't happen!

Keep us up to date on how your garden grows,
Skybird

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 12:43AM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Hey Skybird - we really should meet since we have so much in common. Yes, from Crystal Lake last year (January - couldn't even dig up any of my 400+ hostas and the 'kids' who bought the house don't even care about them!) to Erie - one mile East of Hwy 287. Not much of a yard compared to what I had but the back and knees aren't what they used to be anyway. I enjoyed your tomato dissertation and the update and I'm in total agreement - I don't think anyone on Earth knows what causes the tomato problems. But I have far less BER this year and haven't fertilized them at all. Maybe that's the secret - neither does my cousin in northern Minnesota (my home) - she just plants her garden and let's nature take its course - lives off her land completely and doesn't fuss over it. You can email me so we can eventually get together. Or is there something I could attend that would be garden-related? I need to get together with garden people. I'm at cdwestg@comcast.net.

Westy

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 1:40AM
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