Hollow Stem

growneatAugust 11, 2014

I noticed one of my tomato plants had some leaves wilting. When I looked at the stem there was a length of stem about 6 inches long and hallway up the stem that looked darker than the rest. Then I noticed some other stems with wilted leaves that had an area of stem that was totally dried out. I opened all of these stems at the site of the disease only to find they were hollow. The entire inside of the stem was simply gone. It looked like something had eaten the inner portion of the stem. There were small "globs" about 2 inches apart in each of these hollow stems that looked like "droppings." I never found any worms or other living thing inside these hollow stems. What did this?

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Without a picture, it sounds like wilt and depending on where you live, Verticillium or Fusarium. Wilt flourishes in cool damp weather which we have had in the Mid-Atlantic. I have at least 3 plants infected by Verticillium wilt. There is nothing you can do except hope the plant survives long enough to produce fruit. The bad things is that this fungus lives in the soil for up to 3-4 years and there is no chemical treatment available to get rid of it. Solarization and crop rotation are the only solutions besides finding plants bread with resistance.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 12:20PM
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Thanks for the comeback but I already got an answer from another site. The problem was that I had "tomato stalk borers." Google it if you have an interest. I actually found one in another stem that was in the process of being eaten. There is no treatment other than to remove the affected stem and hope the larvae is still inside eating. Thanks again for the comeback Silverspring..

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:14PM
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