Holes in Leaves

alphluluJuly 20, 2006


I live in San Jose, CA and have about 12 tomato plants in the backyard. They are about 8 weeks old, growing well, and I am starting to notice holes in the lower leaves of the plants that are on the perimeter of the garden. The holes are sort of random, like a shotgun blast, 1/8 - 3/8 in diameter and look like something is eating them away. I also notice black, powdery reside, kind of like very small pellets that brush off.

This morning I went out about 5:30am as I thought it might be snails. We have had snail problems in the back and I wasnt sure if this was related to that or not. No snails at all on any of the leaves.

Also, the tomato fruit itself does not appear to be affected at all or show any signs of being eaten.

I tried to provide picture but the image was to large, I can email to you though if that helps.

Any ideas/suggestions?

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calzone_24(Sunset Zone 24)

Hi! My first thought is either flea beetles or hornworms (or some other kind of caterpillar). If the holes are small and round, I would lean toward flea beetles. If the holes are larger and more irregularly shaped, hornworms. Not sure about powdery residue, but little dark pellets suggest caterpillars (that's their doodoo, take notice of where you see it, then check the underside of the leaves right above it for a hornworm).

I a new gardener (well, back to it after a few tries!) and I have learned a lot by doing searches of the old threads on these boards. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you'll find a search box. Try looking for hornworms and flea beetles and I'm sure you'll find a lot of reading material. Also, on this forum there is a FAQ section at the top (not all forums have them).

I wish you luck with your tomatoes--I'm fighting BER right now.

Michelle :-)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 11:25AM
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torquill(z9/sunset15 CA)

I say flea beetles. A few of the leaves on my plants are starting to look like lacework, and I had a tiny shiny black beetle on my arm today; I poked at it (to make sure it wasn't a tick) and it jumped. I don't generally have flea beetles, so I'm guessing it's a good year for them in the hotter parts of the Bay Area.

They're not easy to deal with, but small numbers aren't terribly harmful if the plants are growing well. They love eggplant, though, and will eat that to bits. :/


    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 10:41PM
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