Leaves on My Big Boy - Taking on a Blackish Tint

LindaMA(MA z5)June 7, 2012

Ever since we've been pounded with a lot of rain in the past couple of weeks, my two Tomato plants are looking pretty sad, the leaves appear to have taken on a blackish tint, you can really see it around the outline of the leaves. They're not nice a green like they were before, what could be causing this? I am growing them in the containers that they came in, which are supposed to be large enough and have the appropriate drainage. They were getting tons of flowers and a few little toms, but since we got all the rain, they look terrible.

Any thoughts or advice?


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Sounds weather related to me. If it has been wet and cool at night the leaves and stems get purple or blackish. Once it warms up and the plants get to dry out a bit they should recover. That's my $.02.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:50PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Based on that info, any number of things from simple environmental damage to serious disease could be causing it. But without seeing at least a picture it is just guesswork on our part. Otherwise I suggest you take a few leaves to your local county ag extension office for diagnosis.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 6:19PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Call the place you bought them from

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 6:28PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

You can find your county Cooperative Extension office here:

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 6:30PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

IMO if the edges of the leaves are black it's due to all the rain/cold we've been getting and I'm not far from you here in NY from you in MA.

I waited through all the cold weather and rain and my plants didn't go out until this past Wednesday.

When things dry out I think you'll see that the leaves that have those black edges, won't change, but they can still phosynthesize which is the important aspect of this b'c it's that process that makes the energy compounds of ATP and GTP that are needed to synthezie everything the plant does, from growth to blossoms, to fruit set and then ripening.

The new foliage that appears should be fine unless we get continued rain deluges and more COLD weather and fingers crossed, I hope that doesn't happen.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:42PM
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I'm glad I'm not the only "late" planter! Do you mean yesterday carolyn, or a week ago? I just started planting my BWs and BKs today - moving on to cherries tomorrow if time b4 market.

We did have some cool weather, threatened to rain but didn't (much) - until today, when I watered all the pots, planted 25 tomatoes, watered them in, mulched, took a shower and brought DS for a hair cut. When we got home I found it had rained here (not even a rumble of thunder 10 miles away!), I moved the pots into the garage (the last night, I swear!) to dry out more than anything since we expect a T-storm around midnight. Hope the ones in the ground are OK.

Linda, what type are they and how big are the containers? Potting them up into some drier soil and a bigger container may help. If we keep getting rain, do you have a porch or garage you could move them into to give them some cover?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:54PM
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Oops, sorry, forgot title said Big Boy.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:55PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I know the title said Big Boy, but just reading through I don't see where anyone mentioned another variety. Oh well.

ajs, I received the plants from Craig in Raleigh a week ago yesterday and they were planted out this past Wednesday, as in two days ago.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 8:56AM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

Sorry, I have attached a couple of photos below. The plants are Big Boy and Big Beef, the container is large, however, there are two toms in each container and the giant label says "grow them in these pots or remove and plant in ground for larger plants". I questioned this at the garden center and was told that they had success growing them in the containers, but 2??? Oh no, hear comes another thunder storm, it's getting dark and now there's thunder. I really do not have a place that will protect them either.

I don't have good soil or believe me, they'd be in the ground, my soil is clay with a high water table, a lot of homes in my area where built on slate. My perennial beds, where I have been amending the soil every summer for 4 years now, are producing wonderful plants and shrubs. I think maybe next year I may try to plant a couple in one of these beds.

Would it be too late to remove a plant from one of these containers now and plant in the perennial bed? Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 3:18PM
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Hang in there. You might have a little bit of nutrient defeciency, but nothing that time will not heal. If you have access to some Tomato Tone or any good fertilizer that will add micro-nutrients for tomatoes, then use some of that. You appear to have a bit of nutrient "wash out", probably due to all the rain and other extra moisture that the containers have had to process.

Now, there is no emergency. The sun will be out for you in a day or so and all will be better. However, take care of the fertilizer thing pretty soon. You haven't lost anything yet. I've had some plants where the back of the leaves were "very purple". They didn't fall off or anything and the plant gave plenty of fruit that season.

So, relax and carry on. The plants in your pictures are otherwise very healthy and you should take pride in their obcious healthiness.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 4:22PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

When you said black around the outline of the leaves that was what I expected to see with your pictures and that's why I answered as I did.

But I see no black margins on the leaves at all, so there you go. ( smile)


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 5:07PM
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How big are the pots? They don't seem large enough for 2 tomatoes, even if they are a Bush type (Big Boy may be, I don't know if there's a bush or patio Big Boy). They do look pretty healthy now, but I'd pull the Big Beef out and use that container for the 2nd Big Boy (if it's a bush).

What I've been doing when watering the patio tomatoes I've been potting up for market is to set the smaller pot (2-3 gal) in a 5-gal bucket and water while it's sitting on the rim, that way if it drains really fast I can take a 2nd bucket, set the plant in there, and pour the water (with all the nutrients) back into the pot so it has a chance to soak in. Even better if you have a large enough shallow container you can bottom-water it in.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 10:49PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

Off the top of my head, I'm not sure how big the containers but not big enough, in my opinion. When I mowed my yard yesterday, I moved the containers to the pavement and noticed that the roots are very long, could they grow into the soil beneath them?

I want to thank you all for your responses, I really appreciate them, I will most certainly purchase some type of rose fertilizer first thing tomorrow. Would I be able to take out one of the (they must be bush, they're not patio) big boys and place it in another container, or they one holding the big beef? What would I do with the big beef, toss them? I have a little space in my perennial bed, would it grow there among the plants?

Carolyn, sorry for jumping the gun but from my perspective, the leaves look as if they are turning black, they are not as green as they were before all the rain. It's the veins in the leaves that appear slightly black, they do look as little better in the photo. I hear people speak a lot about Fish Emulsion, would that help my tomatoes? Sorry for all the questions and also the late response, I'm been away from the house for the past couple of days and not able to log on.

Thank you again for all your advice?


    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 3:02PM
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That looks like 3 gallon or 9 quart.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 5:07PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Yes, roots will grow into the soil beneath the pots.

The spring I had my appendix out, I had too many seedlings and the raised bed and trellis were never completed, so I had a bunch of seedlings in 16 oz. cups that were never planted in the ground. Some had a significant root system in the soil below the pots and even produced some small fruit before the Late Blight killed everything in early or mid-July.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Hmm, I posted last night but don't know what happened. Even if roots grow into the soil it will only be what can get through the drainage hole. I'd plant the Big Beef in the ground and use that pot for the second Big Boy if it's a bush type.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 6:50AM
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