Is this blight?

tsuki_chanJuly 9, 2012

I'm growing tomato plants in 5 gallon buckets of potting soil with drainage holes and rocks in the bottom. Two of my plants, a Yellow Pear and a German Stripe, have yellow leaves. The first time I noticed, an entire branch of leaves had gone yellow. They are on the lower half of the plants. Most are at the bottom but one was midway up.

I applied Osmocote time release fertilizer at planting and water every day when temps in the 80s; otherwise I water every other day or when they feel dry.

I checked the forum and other tomato disease guides but none of the photos looked quite like these leaves, so I'm still not sure how to treat this.

I'm in western Oregon. The temps just got into the 80s this week, and the plants have just started setting fruit.

If anyone can identify what this problem is and suggest how to fix it, I'd be most appreciative.

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

It doesn't look like blight. The only thing that comes to mind is related to watering. How do you know when your plants really need watering? It's possible you're overwatering. You might find the Container Gardening forum on this site enlightening. I also grow in containers and drainage is the most important factor. Sounds like your soil might be a bit heavy and retaining too much water.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:44AM
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See the green veins through the yellow part? Blight or disease won't do that. So it must be nutrient-related.

I too had plants in 5-gal buckets and used osmocote. I think what happens is that the root ball grows so densely around the bits of osmocote that the water doesn't quite get to them. So they don't dissolve and your plants get nutrient deficiencies. Next year, I am going to use osmocote's "mini-prill." The pieces are smaller, mix better, and dissolve more easily.

I would recommend that you just forget the osmocote is in there and fertilize away. I used alaskan fish, jamaican bat guano, greensand, epsom salts, and molasses.

If possible, it would also help if you could set the entire bucket in a trough or kiddie pool and let it soak up water slowly. That would help to drench the root ball and dissolve your osmocote. Give it enough time to get saturated, and then take it out of the water or drain off the water from the pool. Although the plants in the attached pic are not in big containers, I was still soaking them in the pool to water them.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:03PM
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Thanks Ed & Cole,

Glad to know it's not blight. I have some of the Alaskan brand fish fertilizer so I'll start using that and see what happens, and keep a better eye on the watering. We'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 3:42PM
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And if it is not feasable to soak your pots like Cole showed above, even going back and watering two or three times can help a container plant actually take up water. The root pathways get dry and sometimes just help the water run right through the plant. 5 gallons is not very big for a healthy, fruiting tomato. In my climate I would water twice daily at least and fertilize lightly several times a week.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:00PM
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