Why are my tomatoes dying from the bottom up?

tomatotomataMay 9, 2013

They are planted in large pots in a non-soil medium. I keep a stick in each one so I can check moisture before watering. I think they are getting enough light. What gives?
My tomatoes always do this, so maybe it is normal (?) but I see pics of beautiful big GREEN plants on this forum, and I'm green myself with envy. Any advice?

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I'm not sure what this could be, I've been having the same issue with 2 store-bought tomato plants. I talked to the people there and they said I over watered them-so I let them dry out a bit, then put more water when they were actually dry-they have just gotten worse. They also have black spots on them.

I apologize for not being able to help, but I'm watching to see if anyone else might know what this could be.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 3:46PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Your plant looks good. I see tomatoes. Your mix looks good and so does your container size. One leaf dying isn't the end of the world. How much sun do they get? How often do you fertilize and with what? Can't really tell but the leaves maybe could be a little darker green, but it's hard to tell from the angle and lighting. But overall it looks like a good plant. Sometimes I'll have a leaf or two die and sometimes not. It gets hot near the surface of the top of your container mix.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 3:47PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Why do you think the plant is dying? The one yellow leaf or is there more? The yellow leaf is most likely due to too much rain or over-watering. Other causes could be lack of nutrients. Have you fed the plant regularly? Could it be root bound? How big is that pot?


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Thanks for the responses, everybody. I do tend to overwater, so I'll keep an eye on that.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

My first thought looking at the leaves of your tomatoes was that they needed watering, or maybe they have been overwatered. Do you check the moisture of the growing medium 3-5 inches below the surface?

Watering in a container is much different from watering a plant in the ground. Do you have one of those saucers that usually go with that kind of pot? If so when you water your plant, wait about 30 minutes and then drain that saucer. If you leave water standing in it, you are depriving the tomatoes of air for the roots and they will drown.

GardenWebber sprouts_honor (Jennifer from Cleveland) had a wonderful suggestion on how to tell whether or not you need to water your tomatoes, and I quote here: "Get a wooden dowel rod (or two) and sink it in the ground near a plant or two and leave it. Pull it out when you think you need to water. If the top is dry and the bottom is a little damp, it's time to water. If it looks dark and feels saturated, wait to water. I use this technique with potted plants that don't like being over watered and it's helpful with in ground plants too."

Also when you water a plant in a container, the process tends to wash away the nutrients in the growing medium so they will need to be fed frequently. Many container growers use a water soluble balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10, diluted to 1/3 or 1/4 recommended label strength and use it to water every 10 days to two weeks.

Good luck with your tomatoes.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 10:24PM
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I know you likely have this figured out, but I had a similar experience this year when we turned from 20,20,20 to 9-15-30 we send that through drip irrigation. Each plant only sees about a quart of water each week.
I have to purge lines and always end up with a gallon of concentrated solution. In this case I filled the 5 gal bucket with water to dilute it and poured it over the last 4 plants in the row. They recovered within the week. My point? In my case I wasn't giving enough nutrients or water.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:46PM
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I had the same problem. Tried some fung oil and this may have helped a little. We kept getting a lot of raining humid days this year. I trimmed off all effected areas and disposed of them. This helped for a while, but has finally taken over even into my cherry tomatoes and zucchini... Any thoughts to prevent this next year???

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 8:54PM
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