What would take to treat it?

vladizJune 6, 2014

These brown edges seemed to be developed rather rapidly on 3 out of 10 plants that i have, all different varieties.
How should I treat them, spray, organic?

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Tomato plants aren't perfect, and I would classify that as normal wear and tear. If you are concerned, it's almost never too early to spray with a fungicide. My fungicide of choice is Daconil, but it's not organic.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 5:21PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

The few leaves I see don't have any spots that look like either fungal or bacterial foliage diseases. just the brown edges.If it were foliage diseases, considering that they are spread by wind and embedded in rain drops I would assume that ALL of your plants would have been affected.

Are the three that are affected the same variety or are each different. Are those 3 treated in any other way from your other plants?

Sometimes photography doesn't show true colors but if the edges and leaf tips were more on the black side I might suggest fertilizer burn, but then you would have used the same amount of fertilizer for All of your plants.Right?

Let's see what others might suggest.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 6:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I agree that it is not a fungal disease although Ed is right that preventative fungicide spraying is always good.

One cause of leaf tip burn like that is excess nitrogen fertilizers. But you would see it on more than just what is in the pic. If there are very many branches on the plant that look like that then what, how much and how often have you been feeding it? Have you been doing any foliar feeding or spraying the plant with anything?


    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 6:10PM
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Thanks for all your responses everyone and good detective work :-) . There were two factors which could have attributed that took place the day before: (a) overnight temps dropped to lower 40's and during the day I sprayed all 10 plants with baking soda mix solution.(1 teaspoon to 1 gallon). Also 2 out of 3 affected plants are Big Boy the other one is Fantastic. Also, at a time of planting (April 12th) I did apply a mix of solid fertilizers directly into the ground including milorganite, but do not think it was excessive and other other plants do not show similar symptoms although it also could be possible that other varieties have different levels of resistance. BTW, I applied more milorganite 3 days ago and do not see additional brown leaves developed as of result of that application. Last year almost all of my plants ended up infected what i believe was late blight so I am trying to learn this year for the first time how to use preventive spraying. I am planting on average a dozen or so plants and live in MASS.. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 8:11PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I don't know of any reason why the baking soda spray should cause any problems unless it was applied too thickly. While it wouldn't have any role in preventing Late Blight, assuming it had time to dry before the temperature dropped it shouldn't have any real negative effect on the leaves that I know of.

As for the Milorganite, aside from all the controversy surrounding its use (your choice), with a 5-2-0 rating and its total lack of potassium what you could be seeing on your plants are the symptoms of K insufficiency (see link below) unless that K is supplied by one of the other additives you used that you don't mention.

And given the high salts content of Milorganite I'd recommend using it sparingly to avoid additional plant damage from the salts - yellowing of leaves with interveinal chlorosis, etc. There are far better tomato fertilizers available, both organic and synthetic.


Here is a link that might be useful: Potassium insufficiency in tomato plants

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 9:59PM
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If you're trying to grow organic, I feel I should let you know that Milorganite is not on the NOP/OMRI lists of approved products.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 6:21PM
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That looks like salt burn to me.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:30PM
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Oh man, what do I do now?
I definitely learned a few things in this post and on a good note plants showing a decent grows with a Milorganite Nitrogen boost and new leaves do not have this drying / brown edge symptoms issue. The question now is - should I even eat the stuff now? I can live with this "orga" product not being on a OMRI list but the whole concept using it in vegetable gardening is now scaring me. I now wonder if I should continue at all and not to bulldoz the whole thing.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:08AM
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I wouldn't bulldoze the garden but I wouldn't put any more M on it, mulch well and wash everything before you eat it. Are you growing any leafy greens or root vegetables in it?

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell Milorganite use in Vegetable Garden

This post was edited by ajsmama on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 14:09

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 2:05PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Some who learn about the product after the fact would claim you should bulldoze it. Bit extreme in my opinion as it is based on the invalid assumption that any plant will automatically suck up everything in the soil and that just isn't true. Others would say no big deal, it has been composted so it's fine to use.

So ultimately the choice is going to be yours to do what you feel comfortable with. Although I will admit to be curious as to why you chose to use it in the first place without research..

Personally, I would do as ajsmama suggests - quit using it, mulch and water appropriately as it will gradually leach out of the garden soil, practice good garden hygiene with the food, etc. and consider it a lesson learned.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 2:50PM
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I am only growing tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers.
I've done soil test this spring (results below) and after interpreting them I added: a) lime to an entire bed, b) 1\4 cup of tomato-tone, 1/4 of cup of Neptune's crab shell and 1/4 of a cup of Mil-nite to each hole at a time of planting to each plant. I had leftovers of Mil-nite from fertilizing my turf this spring and remembering product being organic and having high reviews I decided to include it as additional Nitrogen boost clearly without thinking what i was doing.
I am revisiting my test results and seeing excess amounts of Iron in my soil plus additional that will be added by Mil-nite, not sure what totals soil might have now and whether it's alarming.
Otherwise, i am planning to blend my soil next year with compost 50/50
I am listening to all your advice guys (including purchasing of Daconil) and learning the lesson.
Dave / Ajsmama - what do you mean mulch and water it? Is it installing a layer of dark or brown mulch to cover entire bed with it? How thick?
Thank you very much!

Here is a link that might be useful: soil test

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 7:35PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Mulching means a thick layer of some organic material over the whole bed or at least in a several inch circle around the base of each plant. It helps maintain soil moisture levels, decreases the need for watering,, suppresses weeds and most importantly IMO, improves the soil over time.

All sorts of things can be used to mulch - straw, old hay, grass clippings (if no weed killers used), cardboard,, shredded fall leaves, pine straw, shredded newspapers, compost ;), etc. etc. or any combination of the above and lay it on as thick as possible.

Some like to use decorative wood chips as one would in a landscaped bed or flower bed. Personally I don't recommend using them but some do.

I use approx. 6" of old hay and just till what hasn't decomposed into the soil in the fall and then top the whole bed with compost. If you have compost ready to go, use it.

As for watering. That all depends on how you supply it. Drip irrigation, soaker hose and similar set ups are ideal since they deliver the water directly to the plant roots and little water is wasted and are placed under the mulch.

Use what you can get and if it is free so much the better. But do mulch. No naked soil allowed in the garden. :)


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:24PM
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Bare soil = bad

I've got to go with 2nd cutting hay this year, my dad has some in barn he didn't sell and he's ready to cut this year as soon as they predict 3 dry days in a row. Wanted straw for my strawberry bed but $8 (plus 50 cents tax) a bale is a bit steep.

But another reason I suggested mulch is to keep any veggies from coming into contact with the M-treated soil (touching any soil can contribute to bacterial/fungal disease, but "manure" is a concern, M-nite again shouldn't have any problems with pathogens b/c of heat treatment but better to be safe).

Watering (though not so much you drown the plants or cause root rot) will help flush the excess N and to some extent P out of your soil. Though it looks like you needed some P. Interesting that they didn't give you a measurement for N - CT Ag Experiment Station gives ammonium and nitrate numbers - but not Pb and Al. Did UMass say anything about the higher than normal Al and Fe? Do you mind me asking how much a soil test costs through UMass?

Definitely worth getting soil tested again in the fall or next spring to see how the lime and M-nite have affected it. Supposedly the M-nite is tested for heavy metals (though not pharmaceuticals) so shouldn't see anything change, maybe the P.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:05PM
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Umass charges $10 for what you see and I'll make sure to follow up with them and try to get an answer about Pb and Al.
I think my raised bed is only 6" high but i got the point about covering it. I only have 3 32sq feet beds so it's easy. I water manually approximately 1/2 gallon to each plant every 3 or so days depending how dry the soil looks.
I like learning it!

Here is a link that might be useful: updated link to soil test

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:55PM
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Fe is high, your Pb is fine.

Tomato plant can take a gallon at a time when mature - depends on hot hot it is and how fast-draining your soil is as to how often. I dry-farm main;y b/c I don't have electricity/water in my main growing area and have to haul water by hand, in periods of drought (like 2012) I was watering my plants 1/2 gal each at a time just to keep them alive.

$10 isn't bad for that info, looks like quick turnaround too. CAES is free, I think UCONN charges $8 I will have to look into it but I like to have each of my beds tested every year or every other year and I have 4 main outside beds, the house garden is mostly all the same soil/amendments so can get away with 1 test and new high tunnel has 10 12-ft long "beds" 5 along each side and 1 big wide one in the middle. The side ones are mostly the same (might have double-dug and mixed some a little deeper than others with the native soil), the middle one is 2ft deep composted manure on top of compacted (not double dug) native soil. So I guess I really only need 2 soil tests for the tunnel and actually the beds really should be close to all compost since only the bottom 4" or so of each 8-10" deep bed was mixed with soil, then topped off with the compost. The established beds are sandy loam that have been amended (with manure, leaves, lime, other amendments) over the years and 1 was purposely not limed to keep the pH low for potatoes, then beans, now have tomatoes there this year.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:21AM
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