Verticillium Wilt??? What do I do now? New gardener needs advice!

tommymommy123July 7, 2014

Hi! I have 8 absolutely beautiful Amish Paste Tomato plants that have a ton of blossoms and many large fruits. Unfortunately, I just noticed that many of the plants have yellowing and dying leaves towards the bottom of the plants. The tops of the plants are thriving. It has been an extremely wet summer in MN and I struggle with grass/weeds in the garden, so I worry that they have brought wilt into the garden (I read that ragweed does that???). Does anyone know if that is what is going on?? Also, What do I do now? Do I need to pull out the whole plants or can I just let them run their course? I think all the plants have been infected, but there may be some that are OK. I'll have to take a closer look. If the disease is from the soil, wouldn't it spread regardless if I pull out the plants?? I was so excited because this is the first year that my garden actually looked like it was going to be successful!! I am trying to stick to heirloom varieties, so does anyone have any good heirloom varieties that I could plant in the upcoming years that are more resistant varieties? Also, I have summer squash planted nearby as well... do I need to be worried? So far it is looking good, but I DID loose my entire spaghetti squash crop last year to a mystery disease (the whole crop turned brown and died... maybe this disease actually started LAST YEAR with my squash and me being a new gardener, I was too naive to take pictures and look into the problem...).

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Please note that the spots on the tomato are just dirt... the tomato looks great. It's just the leaves that are the problem so far...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:13PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Not verticillium.

Please post image of an entire plant, another the garden.

What did you do to the soil before planting?
What have you done since for fertilizer, etc?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:05AM
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I took off most of the infected leaves last night, so I'm not sure if I could get another good photo of the problem. I'll get out there after work today to try and get a photo if I missed any. As for the soil, we worked in some composted manure several days before planting and I put in crushed egg shells in some of the holes before planting (trying out new things on a few of the plants). I have used coffee grounds a few times as well as Organic Choice complete fertilizer in June (I was planning on applying another dose today) and just a few days ago, some worm castings (I have a worm tower on the other end of the garden). We have had a VERY wet summer, but I live in sandy soil, so until now, they have been pretty unaffected by the moisture. I mulched between rows with newspaper and straws, however, with a young toddler, a lot of grassy weeds have grown along the base of my plants. Really regretting my novice choice to just till the land, instead of cutting out the sod first!! The grass is so difficult to pull! Planted near the tomatoes are my summer squash, asparagus, beans, radishes/carrots (planted together). I'll get you those photos later this afternoon. Thanks!!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:00AM
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Here is a photo of the one plant I didn't clean up yet.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:42AM
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Close up.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:43AM
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Here is a photo of the garden. In front, I have 5 tomato plants and one cucumber
trellised and just to the left and behind that, I have 3 in cages. Behind those would be the beans, carrots and radishes (not pictured). To the far left (also not pictured) are my asparagus and blackberries. To the right, I have 4 mounds of summer squash with corn behind that and potatoes in the far back. I hope that helps!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 9:49AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

As said, not verticillium.

Difficult to say for certain, but verify they are receiving sufficient water. Soil should be evenly moist. Don't allow to dry out or plants to wilt.

Water long enough to moisten at least 8 inches down.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:41PM
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Campanula UK Z8

No, that looks like a contender for blight (phytopthera infestans) I am afraid. Essentially, blight will infect tomatoes (and potatoes) when the humidity is around 90% in 2 x11 periods (over 48 hours) and the lowest temperature does not go below 10C - this is called a Smith period and the blight spores will get a chance to settle and send out hyphae to infect the plant material. There is no cure....many gardeners will remove all the foliage or, if there are other plants which are not affected, simply remove the infected ones and burn the plant material.
You can offer plants some degree of protection by spraying with a copper fungicide when rain is due, especially if it is going to be sustained over 2 days.
The signs of late blight are blackened stems, as well as the foliage damage - I cannot say for certain but it is worth checking for the symptoms of blight and acting preemptively if you have other plants.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:59PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Doesn't look like Late Blight to me -- and I'm sure jean would have caught it if Late Blight was a possibility.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 6:02PM
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I would be extremely surprised if the problem was due to not enough water... we have had so much water, many of my coworkers have flooded basements. Luckily, we live in sandy soil, so we haven't had any standing water. However, it has consistently rained more often than it has been sunny. I have had many people suggest that it is either wilt or blight.... if it's not either of those, hopefully it isn't anything too serious! I'm going to destroy all affected leaves and hope for the best. Any other suggestions? I have read that if it is a fungus, I should not plant tomatoes in this spot for 5 years... is there anything else I should avoid planting there? Also, how far away will I need to plant my tomatoes next year to prevent infection? Is there anything I should do to my squash to make sure it isn't affected?? Thank you so much to everyone for all the help!! Gardening sure isn't as easy as it sounds, but I am absolutely obsessed! :-)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:47PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Okay, then. Perhaps low functioning roots due to a plethora of water? (Same effect as if short of water.)

Not late blight. The signs and symptoms aren't correct.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:37PM
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Well... I checked out the garden, and removed all affected leaves. I also noticed several of the tomatoes appear to have end rot. Could this be related?? Also, I noticed my sunflowers, squash and corn l had similar symptoms. I will post those photos next. Any suggestions would greatly help! I lost almost my whole garden last summer due to some kind of similar problem. I am worried I'll lose it all again!! I absolutely love gardening, but I'm starting to feel like my thumb is as far from green as possible. I'm trying not to get discouraged, but it's tough when my garden never turns out :-(

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:37PM
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End rot??

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:38PM
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    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:39PM
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    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Last one. Sunflower.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:41PM
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I am having the same problem with my tomato plants. two died, some started to get better but now look like they are getting worse.
I don't think it's due to too much water, we didn't have a whole lot of rain. Below is a link to a video I took a month ago, when I first spotted the issue. There are newer videos showing the entire garden, I will try to do a video on just the tomatoes.

Thank you garden gurus for your help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato plants curled leaves.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:32AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

What are the plants growing in?
The ground or containers?
If the latter, the size (length, width and especially depth) and what they are filled with?

Any fertilizer?
If so, what, when and how much?

My best guesses at this time:
1. Short of water -- whatever the reason -- or erratic moisture levels.
2. Also short of nitrogen.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:38PM
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This looks similar to the issue I am having (post: Mystery Wilt) especially the leaf wilt pattern and color and the yellowing of stems in your July8 photo. I do not have fruit bottom issue. No luck yet on mine but I will be following this conversation too.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 12:59PM
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I occassionally have this issue because we have a lot of humidity and it affects all my plants, not just tomatoes, like you. I regularly use fungicide until I start seeing fruit on my plants and then I regularly spray a milk/water mixture (concentration 1:1) on my entire garden. nothing can "cure" it, but I've been told the milk keeps the spores from affecting the unaffected leaves. Basically the point is to just control it so that my plants can grow ahead of it....if that makes sense. I also discovered I have a calcium deficiency in my garden so I make sure to add eggs to my compost and I add bone meal at the time of planting.....after starting to do that a couple of years ago, the healthier plants can help keep the spores at bay.....I can't move my garden and can only do so much rotation, so I have resigned myself to accept that humidity is going to be my worst friend....but at least the last couple of years my garden has been producing well and I don't get frustrated with all the hard work and nothing to show for it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:05PM
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