Tomato leaf curl

kiropod(7)June 12, 2012

I have 10 tomato plants in containers, which I started from seed in my greenhouse. The container material is comprised of Tapla's 5-1-1 formula. The bottom leafs on most of the plants are curling, then eventually dying off. I have the same problem with two tomato plants that are in a raised bed in the greenhouse. So far, the tomatoes do not look diseased.

Here are some photos:

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Umm, wants me to log in.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:24PM
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kiropod(7)

Sorry, hope the pics are now here.

Here is a link that might be useful: tomato leaf curl

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:32PM
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kiropod(7)

Hope that this is better

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:59PM
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kiropod(7)

another pic

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 10:04PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

To be able to suggest what might be wrong with your plant, it would be helpful to know more about the environment it is in. So, here are the "usual" questions:

What growing medium are you using? How large is the container? Is it self-watering or do you manually water it? Is the container in full sun, part sun or shade?

It would be helpful to know these things as well: How often do you water? Have you checked the moisture of the growing medium or soil 3-5" below the surface? Is it dry, just right, or soggy? Are you feeding the plant? How often? What are the NPK values of any fertilizers you are using to feed it? What has the weather been like in your area?

The more information you can give us, the better the chances that someone can give you an accurate diagnosis.

Betsy

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:52AM
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kiropod(7)

Hi Betsy

Per my original post, I am using Tapla's 5-1-1 formula from the container forum. That mixture contains 5 parts pine bark fines, 1 part spagmum peat moss, 1-2 parts perlite, controlled released fertilzer as well as garden lime. I water by hand, but check the moisture level(s) before doing so. I use Foliage Pro as a fertilizer, approximately one time per week, but in a dilute fashion. The pots vary in size from 7-8 gallons to 5 and are in full sun 3/4 of the day. Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

First, let me say I am not a container gardener, but I do see a lot of issues with container grown tomatoes.

Curled (or rolled) leaves are typically a physiological response to environmental issues, most commonly associated with over watering, but can be caused by underwatering, uneven watering (fairly common in containers), too much nitrogen or number of other issues.

I see that Dyna-Gro's Foliage Pro is rated at 9-6-3, which most successful tomato growers I know of would say that is somewhat high in nitrogen. Personally I prefer a fertilizer that is balanced, such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10, even better I like something that is lower in nitrogen, and higher in phosphoruus and potasium such as Epsoma's Tomato Tone (3-4-6). I don't know how you are diluting the Foliage Pro, but it could be that you have some fertilizer burn.

However, when I first looked at your pictures, I would have thought underwatering, since I didn't see the hallmark yellowing of leaves that accompany overwatering. When you are checking for moisture, are you checking the top layer of the growing medium or are you checking 4-6" down from the surface? If the top layer is dry water will sheet off the growing medium and down the sides of the container then out the drainage holes, so even though it looks like you have adequately watered your tomatoes, they may in fact be too dry.

The other problem is, you don�t state where you are located, which could have a bearing on whether this is an environmental issue or a disease. Also, you didn�t say what kind of weather you are having. If it is 60-70 degrees F, watering a container once a day may be sufficient, but if your temperatures are running up into the 90s or higher, once a day will probably not cut it, especially for larger plants with fruit on them.
So, pending more info, I�m guessing nitrogen burn or under watering or both.

I hope that helps.

Betsy

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 2:23PM
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kiropod(7)

Thanks for your kind reply. I am located in Southern NJ. The weather has been kind of unusual so far this spring, with periods of mid to upper 80's, followed by a few days of cooler nights.Foliage pro is used at a rate of 1 tbsp per gallon, every other week. I typically use a chopstick to check the moisture level of the soil. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Ok, I may be stumped here. It doesn't sound like it is fertilizer burn, at least I don't think it is, but I suppose it might still be possible. Usually container gardeners will water every week to 10 days with 1/4 to 1/2 strength recommended label dilution of fertilizer. Foliage-Pro recommends 1 tsp. per gallon of water every week for production in tropical foliage plants or trees.

Since too much nitrogen can be a stressor for tomatoes, I think it would be a good idea to switch to a water soluble fertilizer designed for the production of fruits or flowers with a nitrogen that is lower than the phosphorus or potassium content. There are a lot of them available. Miracle Grow makes one especially for tomatoes that is 18-18-21, Garden safe has one that is 1-1-4, Texas Tomato Food is rated at 3.8-3.1-7.0, and I am sure there are others out there that will work. For in ground tomatoes the University of Missouri Extension Office states "For tomatoes, use a fertilizer low in nitrogen (N), high in phosphorous (P) and medium to high in potassium (K). Among the best analyses for tomatoes are 8-32-16 and 6-24-24." The same ratios would apply for tomatoes grown in containers.

The chopstick idea is an excellent one. Do you leave it in the soil mix between waterings? I use dowels stuck into the ground in my garden to monitor my drip system to see if I need to adjust the timing on it, that way I don't have to wait for it to absorb moisture from the soil if it is just right or marginally dry.

Betsy

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:00PM
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kiropod(7)

Thanks again. In regards to the chopstick, I have quite a few of them and do not keep them in the soil between dippings. I've been using them on my lemon trees for years and it has not let me down to date. Have you spent any time on the countainer forum as there are some terrific posts in regards to water retention and fertizer usage by Taplas, who is quite knowledgeable. He basically states that all plants have the same requirements and Foliage Pro is one of the best fertilizers available. Mike

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:47PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Perhaps russet mites?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Why not try a lower nitrogen fertilizer on one or two plants and see if that makes a difference?

Betsy

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 1:11PM
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bugbite(z9a FL)

Pine finds can be acid; Spagmum is definitely acid; the nitogen, if heavily Urea or Ammonia, can add acidity.
But you did add lime.
Can you check the PH?
Certainly would like to know your solution. I have been hearing about a lot of leaf curl issues lately.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:15PM
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danb99

Hi All I also have have leave curl in all my tomato plants (18).Different varieties and from different garden centers
This is happening only on the top or new leaves, the bottom leaves and plaants look great, pleantly of fruit & blossoms
Plants are Beefmaster/Supersonic/Roma/Cherry 100's
PLants have been in the since May 20th, growth is good.
Thanks Dan

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 3:43PM
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danb99

another pic

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 3:46PM
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capoman(5a)

Sorry Bets, but I don't think it's nitrogen. I use 5:1:1 soil and 3:1:2 ratio ferts with peppers and tomatoes as well with no issues.

The only time I've seen similar symptoms is when I left containers on heat retaining surfaces like concrete. Roots too warm. Could this be the issue?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 9:23PM
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kiropod(7)

Its been quite some time since I've been on this forum. Pretty much all of my tomato plants are affected, including the ones in the garden. I believe that I am dealing with blossum end rot (maybe viral), however I did use an antifungicide last month per the instructions. Some of the tomato plants are completely shot now, some less so than others.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 4:15PM
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metagenomic(8)

Hi DanB99,

I live in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, and I have two tomatoes that look just like the first picture you posted. As in your picture, some of the curls look like little structures--I opened a few thinking that there might be a critter inside, but no. I assumed it must be a virus because it was only affecting the new, growing parts of the plant. These tomatoes are unknown heirloom varieties, from 2 different places--one my stepson grew from seed he saved, the other from a local student organic growers club. So, it could be something they got in my yard, or else one came with it and the other caught it... Did anyone ever say what they thought yours was? My two that are affected are marginal anyway--not quite enough light--and they are about 6 ft tall--seem to be growing well in spite of the curl.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 10:08PM
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kiropod(7)

I had my plants evaluated at Rutgers University extension office nearby and I was advised that my tomatoe's were/are affected by russic mites (as noted by their extensive presence under the microscope). I was also advised that I need to spray them with sulfur to kill the critters.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 2:59PM
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danb99

Hi All Good news the problem with my tomato plants and thier curling leaves,was cause by the extreme hot weather, here in Northen New Jersey.
Now thats it's cool off some and raining good, the plants, look much better .
Thanks Dan

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 2:16PM
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