Tomato disease- wilt or blight?

Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)August 1, 2011


I'm new to gardening and our area, Boulder zone 5, has been more humid that usual and am hearing that there is a lot of fungus attacking tomatoes (and my squash).

The leaves are getting brown spots- that are about the size of grapes, turning yellow and eventually dying, and progressing from bottom up.

I've gone to garden stores and called the extension office- not helpful at all. I've tried copper and green cure (a week ago and will try another application tonight), however it's not stopping the disease from spreading.

The plants are 4-6 ft tall with lots of fruit. The better boys and stupice have stopped producing new blossoms and are not growing past the 4ft. The cherries and romas are still producing flowers. It does not seem that it is affecting the fruit yet. I'm cutting away the diseased stems which are about 1/5 of the plants now. I don't know how much to keep cutting as it spreads.

Has anyone experienced this or know what to do?



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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Hello Leslie,

It sounds like you have Tomato Russet Mite. I had same problem and posted over on the main Tomato forum. There are two posts on the Tomato forum now. My post about crunchy brown tomato leaves and another about the Russet mite. The experts there reccomend a spray with sulpher and another spray by the Montery garden folks. I used Espoma 3 in 1 in the 'pink' bottle because it has sulpher and pyrethrin. I had a really bad infestation and it started just like yours at the bottom and worked up the plant. No results yet for me but I only discovered the problem this past weekend.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:49AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Doesn't look like russet mites to me.
Here's info & pictures from UC Davis

Here is a link that might be useful: russet mites

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 1:53PM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

Thanks for responding. I had typed up a long response but forgot to hit the submit button.

I'm still not sure what it is but maybe I'll spray for mites which also takes care of psyillids. I just don't want to keep spraying my plants- if it's not bugs then I have to do another spray. I'm only using organic but is it still okay to spray different organics on the plants. I am waiting 1-2 weeks in between applications.

DL- I saw that you plant tomatillios. I have some this year and they leaves are turning yellow. I was told I'm watering too much so the last few weeks I've watered every other day, they are in 5 gallon pots. But, since it's so hot, they wilt on the second day but perk up again after a watering. I'm still getting yellow leaves in which they fall off before dying- no browning or curling. Could this be from a bug also?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 4:30PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Leaves do yellow from too much water -- but also from too little -- and for other reasons too (the plant sacrifices the oldest leaves to keep the rest of the plant healthy). The fact that the plants wilt before watering but perk up after watering seems to indicate they need more water.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 5:46PM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

I was watering everyday and was getting yellow leaves without wilting. My concern was when I switched to every other day and the soil was dry, the plants wilted. After each watering I would still get yellow leaves. Now, it's not just the bottom leaves, they are all over the plants and they have lost their dark green color and are now a light green.

I did have a bug problem and am thinking it could be a disease. I sprayed for bugs and they have not returned, but that was about 3 weeks ago. The yellowing is growing. I am using new potting soil and have added fertilizer (2 weeks ago) and applied compost tea twice.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 12:01PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

any chance of pictures?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:40PM
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