Cold weather and leaf wilt/curl

afbq(7)May 13, 2013

The night before mother's day I left my plants out over night so I could plan my garden. Well, of course it got really cold (not frost), and not they are wilted and the leaves are curled in. Is this something they recover from??? I hope so!

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Do you know exactly how cold really cold (not frost) was?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 5:00PM
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It was about 49, according to the almanac. I was surprised that they wilted and curled.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:03PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

No way tomatoes will wilt at 49F. Not even at 43F. Unless they had not been hardened up.

For the next 10 days, in my area(Seattle) night temperature s are forcasteed aroun mid 40s. And day highs low to mid 60s. I am not worried and all my tomatoes have been in the ground for 10 days already.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 1:51AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Leaves will curl when it's too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too windy and the leaves of many F1 hybrids curl normally, and leaves can curl on any variety when there's a heavy fruit burden.

What I'm saying is that if it's just leaf curl, I wouldn't worry about it.

There have been times when I had plants outside ready to be planted and there was a cold night and in the AM the leaves would be curled, and yes, some plants even wilted, especially if the plants were in wet soil mix or there had been rain .

I just ignore them and when temps warmed up and out comes the sun they'd recover just fine.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:57AM
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I took pictures of my bad tomatoes. You are telling me they'll be OK??? There are 4 or 5 like this. The smaller plants were ok. Odd.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 3:21PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Those are some seriously damaged tomato plants and no it isn't the leaf roll others were referring to above. I wouldn't bother planting those as they will never be healthy even if they partially recover. No point in putting effort in to them. Just consider it a valuable lesson learned.

It must have been much colder than any 49 - by 10-12 degrees at least to do that damage. Don't you have a thermometer so you can know exactly how cold it is at your house? In your garden? Hard to garden without one at least.

The almanac is just an average temp for a miles wide area. Even the local news is more accurate than that.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:15PM
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hoosier40 6a Southern IN

Doesn't really look like frost or freeze damage. Usually the leaves will turn black and wilt to nothing with that level of damage. How long had they been outside before this happened? You might strip the lower branches bury them up to the tip and see if they recover.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:52PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

afbq, Wunderground is a major weather site which allows local weather aficionados to post info from their home weather stations. You can go to their site, set the location for your town, and see the local amateur weather stations, which will show you the temperatures for previous weeks and months.

From the main page:
choose your location.

Next, scroll down to the section with the heading "Weather Stations." Pick the one that looks closest to you. When you click on a stations, you'll see a map which shows many of the stations (you may need to zoom out a bit on the map to see the exact location of your house).

Choose one of those locations (I'm in the mountains, so I consider the weather stations' elevation as well as proximity to me), then click on its name in the pop-up window in the map. That should bring up that particular station's data. You can choose a particular day, month, or year. You can also see graphs with daily, weekly, or monthly info. That should give you a better idea of what the temperature actually was in your area during that time.

These are, of course, amateur weather stations. Some are less accurate, have equipment problems (for example, no precipitation info), or may go offline a lot. And remember that all weather stations -- professional or amateur -- are supposed to be located several feet off the ground, and because heat rises, ground-level temperatures can be a lot colder. But the forecasts -- whether NWS or Wunderground or another weather-forecasting firm -- aren't for ground-level temps, but temps at the height of the weather station.

[Wunderground will give you a professional forecast tailored for very close to you (as will the National Weather Service's site). I use Wunderground and understand more or less how it works, which is why I posted it. I don't know if NWS allows amateurs to post their weather info.]

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 6:49PM
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You know, I don't remember the exact day anymore but it was very cold but no frost. The temp I posted was what the almanac said for my zip for that weekend. Of course, as many of you said, it was colder.

And I do have a thermometer but I simply forgot about them that night. :( Thanks, everyone for the advice/help.

I wonder if Home Depot will take them back.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:24PM
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Missingtheobvious, thats a great site! I checked the weather for the week prior to mother's day and the temp did not get below 45, but they were not even out that day. I'm just scratching my head about these guys. They were only out that one cold night, which according to this site it was around 50.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:54PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

IMO, there are several factors here, BASED ON THE PICTURES:
1- The plants have over grown their pots and probably lacking nutrients.

2- poor things. They need som kind of support at that size, to help them to stand up.

3- cold has also done its share to make things get worse.

In conclusion: If they were my plants , at that condition, I could revive them. No problem. Plant them (deep), trim the lower leaves, yellow stuff. Stake them and FEED THEM.

If your min. temps(night i,e) 48F or higher they can com back. Just try to keep one and see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 12:19AM
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Home Depot most likely will take them back. It might be best to do that and start over with healthy plants.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:08AM
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I just wanted to follow up with you guys. I planted a couple of them anyways because I wanted to see what happened. I really wanted to save my Zapotec Pleated plant (not purchased at HD) because I had never seen it before. Planted deep, fed them and sadly the plants are still wilted and very sad looking.

Reysonn: the pictures were deceiving. They were not so big that they needed support or outgrown the pots. It was that cold night. I confirmed that at a local nursery that many people lost plants that night. Oh well. I did return them at HD and bought at the local nursery. The new plants are so healthy and robust. Don't know when I'm going to see tomatoes!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 9:29PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

To missingtheobvious, thank you for the link to the weather site. I had that bookmarked on my old computer, but when that died I couldn't find it again. I used to use it because the local weather station is a farm only a few miles from my house. It was so much more helpful than the general reports from TV news.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 7:54AM
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As Carolyn stated you can have leaves curl from various conditions and I witnissed leaves curling in front of my eyes at my farmers' market stand last Friday. The day was a cool 45*F with gusts of wind and all my plants didn't like it. Eggplant leaves were the first to curl, then I noticed basil leaves were turning blotchy. The result is that today we had to remove 150 plants from the original total of 430 that were displayed Friday. I did sell around 100 plants (even sales were poor due to weather) but I'm hoping they turned out OK. None of the plants are a total loss but with brown burn on the leaves they cannot be sold in the near future. Like responses on this site, customers see a freckle on a leaf and they don a face mask so they won't catch Late Blight.

The odd thing with mine is that the older, larger, plants were hardest hit and they are 95% heirloom plants. Many younger hybrids escaped without any damage. This is possibly due to the stand position and subjection to the biting wind.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:28PM
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