Curly Top Virus ?

ben_au(VIC Aust)January 8, 2006

Hey all, nice forums, been reading them for a while and have now joined up as I have a bit of a problem with my tomatoes and was hoping someone could guide me in the right direction...

This is my first year growing and my problem concerns my 3 Roma's (all in 45cm containers, mulched with pinebark, and fed NPK ~ 12-12-12 liquid fert ~ every 10 - 14 days, all from seed) All three have what I suspect is curly top virus, the leaves are rolling inwards on themselves and seem quite stiff and slightly crisp, even when they would normally be wilting. Branches have become quite stiff and shoot outwards or slightly upwards rather than out and down at a slight angle. New growth also appears to have slowed to a complete stop of late, but this could just be me I guess. It seems to affect the shoots and branches nearest to the top of the plant the most, but more and more of the lower leaves\branches seem to be "infected".

The 3 plants I have are of different sizes, the largest being about 100cm, this one has been doing quite well up until now and has quite a few tresses of fruit growing steadily (although it's first couple did suffer from blossom end rot, I picked these fruits of and none of the others have yet gone the same way). The other 2 are younger plants and are maybe 30 - 45cm each, no fruit. My garden space is quite limited so these plants would get 5 hours of direct sunglight tops per day. All grown from seed.

Other info which may be rellevant:

-All plants have a healthy white-fly population, although I don't believe this exceeds what the plants can sustain.

-The leaves also have white\cream coloured oval shaped "eggs" on the underside of the older leaves, they are about 1 - 2 mm in length, I've always assumed they were white-fly eggs and never worried about them (??).

-Older leaves sometimes develop holes in them, they are rust coloured around the edges, but instead of there being an actually hole, it is just see through, eventually this see though material turn into a hole.

-On occasion I have seen tiny light green bugs, ~1 - 2 mm in length, on ly on occasion though, could this be Beet Leafhopper and if so would just a couple be enough to transmit CTV?

Wow, what a long winded all over the place post, so many little time left in the season.

I have included a pic of the plant that is most affected (I hope the problem can be identified with it, I actually took more photos, of the other problems as well, but I think I can only post one (??)), it is only about 1 foot high and was looking so bushy, lush and healthy until about a fortnight ago...Please help me!

Image link:

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Hello there. I do believe your problem is the white fly. White flies can eventually kill a plant. They procuce like mad and lay eggs on the underside of leaves and when they hatch they are called nymphs. They nymphs suck the plant juices from the leaves which in turn causes curling of the leaves. I don't see any spots or holes in the leaves in that picture. All I see is leaves curling. Spots or holes would be a sign of disease. I am just not seeing that on your plants. Here is a link with all sorts of info on the white fly. I wish you luck. As I have lost many of plants to the white fly. You might also want to look into that little green bug it could be a thrip which do spread many of diesease. Although it could just be a leaf hopper too. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Whitefly knowledge

    Bookmark   January 11, 2006 at 1:14PM
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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

After looking at some resources on Curly Top Virus, I'd say it's quite possible they have it. Stiff, curling leaves with purple veins could be a nutrient deficiency (I've had mature plants with severe phosphorus deficiency before, which is similar)... but that's not likely given what you're feeding them. So that's a pretty definite symptom of disease.

The real confirmation would come in two ways: stunting of the plant, to the point that it grows barely at all, and that with tiny yellow leaves; and dull, wrinkled fruit. Overall yellowing could be caused by whiteflies, so that's not a good test.

You have my sympathies, if it is the virus; it's a little late now for you to restart, if I recall correctly, and virus-ridden plants don't put out palatable fruit. One piece of advice I ran across may help you for next time: you're already putting the plants in a somewhat shaded area, which discourages leafhoppers, but a New Mexico plant pathologist also suggests covering young plants with fine mesh to protect them when they're most susceptible. The mesh should be removed when the plant is mature. Other articles urge growers to plant more plants than they need, to cover any losses.

Wish I had better news.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2006 at 10:17PM
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I stand corrected. After researching this it does sound and look like curly top virus. And those little green bugs you saw are spreading it. Here is a link for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato curly top virus

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 10:26AM
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ben_au(VIC Aust)

Thought as much, the plants have really gone downhill, no noticeable growth and the foliage is pointing towards the heavens. Is there an 'all in one' spray I can use that will protect the plants from white flies, leaf hopper and most other common bugs etc. ? I didn't really want to use chemicals but I will if I can keep it simple. Are there seeds available that are Curly Top resistant? Is this virus common?

Thanks for the replies guys, very helpful, I really need to figure out how to prevent this next year. :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 11:19PM
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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

Unfortunately, insect control isn't a good way to prevent curly top -- all it takes is one taste from a single infected leafhopper, and it's game over.

Most of what I can think to suggest is in the article I linked to. Covering the plants with row-cover material would protect them from insects for a time, but you would need to take it off when the summer heat hit.

Be sure to remove weeds as far out from the tomatoes as possible, too... if you can manage a few more plants, do so, as one may survive while another becomes infected.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 7:37PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

I started a handful of Early Girl tomatoes last month because my two-year old daughter is a big tomato fan. They've been under growlights mostly, but we've had some unseasonably warm weather off and on so I've also set them outside under cover many afternoons for some sun.

I noticed today that all have a few slightly upturned leaves, and the undersides of all the newer leaves are extremely purple. I haven't noticed any bugs out. Could it be curly top already? Three years ago I lost every tomato plant I had to curly top, and never figured out what brought it. Do I destroy the plants and start over with sterilized everything, or treat for phosphorus deficiency and hope for the best?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 5:35PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

Decided my problem was definately phosphorus (purple between the veins), whether by actual deficiency or by keeping the soil too cool inhibiting uptake. Repotted with extra bonemeal tonight, gave them all a foliar feeding of weak fertilizer, and put them on the warming mat. Now I hope I just don't kill them with kindness.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 9:47PM
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aznar5(z8 AL)

Did this fix your problem?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 3:50PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

The plants started looking better within 24 hours and grew into sturdy monsters over the next month, some requiring a repotting. They're all now in my garden under wall-o-waters and looking very fine. They survived one night of temperatures that dropped to 21 degrees fahrenheit from 5 to 7 a.m.--the temperature in the wall-o-water when I fell out of bed and shuffled out to plants in my slippers and bad hair was 34.5 degrees. Yay! (31-33 is supposed to be able to kill a tomatoe, but the wall-o-waters are reported to provide protection down to 14 degrees F)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 6:04PM
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bubbaearly(Al 8)

I came upon this topic after posting another.I thought that my only problem with my plants was me, but now I'm not so sure.I thought that over fertilizing with a high P & K was it but after seeing this I think I may have CTV.I did finally pull most of the plants but left some.I've read that after the plant is infected there's no treatment,is that right? Well I'm definitely not taking any chances,having some plants that were planted late May. I can't see them doing the same thing,if that's what's wrong with them.Although I haven't see any insect except a caterpillar on them,that when I started with the neem.Regardless I'm pulling the rest of the plants in question.Now that I've read about curly top I'm taking the plants that I pulled a few days ago and the ones I'm about to pull up and tag & bag 'em.You know you can read and and take advice from people about a problem but sometimes all you can do is hope for the best and hope you've got next year to do it better.Oh the advice is long as it's the right advice.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:51PM
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