tips of new growth have leaves curling & cupped

brass_tacks(8b/GA)March 24, 2012

Please help me identify the problem --

About two weeks ago I noticed one tomato plant had some of its very new, tip growth curled and cupped. Now there are several plants with the same appearance. I do not see any other markings or suspicious looking markings on any other tomato plant. The developing clusters of flowers on these affected parts show the wilt-like appearance and will not develop. The tips seem a dull green/gray color.

Yesterday I sprayed all the plants with a lactobacillus my husband has made for the ready and removed the suspicious growth. My next step will be to try and identify the varieties that are affected.

Searching on the web for a picture or description of what I'm seeing hasn't helped.

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need more imfo. how are you growing, photos, fert.etc

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:12AM
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I found an article with some information here.

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

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 12:52PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yeah let's not over-react here by spraying strange things on the plants and removing parts of the plant, especially new growth, ok.

"Tomato leaf roll", what it sounds like from your description, is the name for cupping of plant leaves so they look kind of like taco shells. It is a very common condition, especially in the spring as the plants are adjusting to changing growing conditions, excess moisture levels, etc. It poses no harm to the plant or or other plants, and goes away as the plant growth matures and the soil moisture level stabilize.

Lots of Google Images of 'tomato leaf roll' on the web.

Granted there are a couple of other possible explanations for what you are seeing and it is impossible to know for sure what it is without seeing it. But the odds greatly favor plain old non-harmful tomato leaf roll.

As to spraying plants with lactobacillus??? That is a whole other discussion.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 1:28PM
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The closest image I have found is of the Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV), but the symtom on my plants is not yellow or even yellowish. The curl that I see is not on mature leaves, only new growth and the immature leaves are very tight -- like, not opening or haven't yet opened) The curl might look like the TYLCV if the leaves were to mature and then turn yellow (with some imagination).

Herbicide damage is out, non used on anything.

Fluctuation in temperatures -- not remarkable.

Over or under-watering is hard to imagine, since the garden soil is fairly loose and in raised gardens with more than a couple feet to the ground level. Before we water we put our hands in the soil to determine if watering is necessary. If anything, we might over-water to compensate for the airy/fast draining soil.

Haven't seen any aphids around. Now that I've read about the virus that whitefly spread -- (TYLCV) we'll have to figure a way to keep them away. That will be another question.

I hope Digdirt has the right idea. Maybe it is the "old non-harmful tomato leaf roll". That would have something to do with watering.

The only thing we've added to the soil is a bloom-builder -- one time. These are plants that were started in early December and transplanted at about one foot high about a month ago. They have passed the stage when they should have been stacked or trellised -- just couldn't find the darn string! Hate to spend the gas, cause we have a big roll some darn place!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 5:01AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Unfortunately you can't rule out herbicides just because you don't use them personally. Neighbors do and herbicides drift for very long distances on the wind - as much as a mile.

Herbicide damage to tomato plants is a common problem this time of year when foolish people, and even the county, are using herbicides indiscriminately with little regard for the drift.

IF that is what it turns out to be then there is a good chance the plants will recover with time.

Another possibility since it is only the new growth is the timing of your application of your bloom-builder. Which it should also outgrow.

Good luck with your plants.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:51AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Have you used any manure on the beds since last summer, or added straw or lawn clippings?

The herbicide Clopyralid is present in the manure of animals which ate plants treated with it. It can remain in manure for more than a year under certain circumstances.

2,4-D is another possibility, though it doesn't persist nearly as long.

More info here:

This article has a chart (near the bottom) showing how long many lawn treatment chemicals persist in clippings. Adding a neighbor's yard waste to your compost pile isn't always a good idea....

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 12:42PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

pictures, please

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 12:42PM
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Jean, I know it helps so much when there is a pic. I just don't have a camera.

I'm going to hope Dave is right about the tomato leaf roll. Mostly because it just doesn't look like herbicide damage.

The link that missingtheobvious posted above (showing the herbicide damage from manure), that damage showed on the entire plant. A drift kind of damage will show in sections of a plant--entire sections, and eventual growth from those sections will be deformed.

Our beds are filled with our own compost, a little wood ash, cedar chips, some bagged manure, and sandy soil from our yard.

That manure/herbicide information -- thanks.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 5:39AM
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I had what I am pretty sure was herbicide damage caused from bagged manure I purchased at a very reputable nursery last year. At first I thought it was 2-4d damage possibly from drift from the neighbors lawn care company. I had a state agricultural agent come and after his investigation he ruled that it was probably in the manure I had worked into the soil. Not all of the leaves were effected right away. But over time the entire plants were effected. Hopefully this is leaf curl and will clear up.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 3:44PM
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