Brown Cow :-(

rt_peasant(5 CO)August 13, 2014

I'm growing Cowlick's Brandywine for the first time this year. It was my first slicer to ripen (78 days), tasted great, and set a bunch of nice sized tomatoes, ~30 greenies total. So you know how sad I was to find that the plant's leaves are now covered with brown spots. The same thing happened to two of my plants last year. Does this look like a common disease? The symptoms are:

* affected the top-most and outer-most leaves
* the leaves develop tiny brown spots, which grow in size, eventually joining and turning into big spots
* the leaves did not turn yellow. They went straight from green to covered with brown spots
* I don't know if it's coincidence, but the last 2 ripe tomatoes did not ripen evenly. They developed a streaked, splotchy appearance. The first ripe tomato (before the brown spots appeared) ripened evenly.

I cut all the affected leaves on Saturday. The next day, I went out, and found twice as many affected leaves. I cut those out, too. By Monday, I didn't see any more spots on the leaves, so the spread of the disease seems to have slowed. I'm contemplating pulling the plant before the disease spreads to its neighbors, but I'd like to milk a few more "Cows" out of this plant before ripping it out!

Diseased leaves


Another close-up

Tiny brown spots

Splotchy, streaked ripe tomato

I'll be sad to toss the plant before these babies have a chance to ripen!


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I'm having a similar experience with Aunt Gerties Gold. I doubt I'll get five fruit off of it. But I had similar issues last year, so I think it's off my list for good. I'm also debating about cutting it down. It could be septoria. I have a BW OTV next to it that is ok so it's hard to say. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:44AM
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rt_peasant(5 CO)

My local cooperative extension office suggested that it might be early blight, but it doesn't look like early blight to me. For one thing, there's no yellowing of the leaves, as in this picture of early blight (taken from CSU's plant talk website):

My leaves almost look like they have brown mold on them initially, before the spots spread and the entire leaf turns brown.

Another thing is the brown spots affect the top-most and outer-most leaves. In my experience with early blight, it affects the bottom, interior leaves first and moves its way up the plant, which is the opposite of what I'm seeing on my plant.

One final note, the fruit ripen with a streaked, orange appearance, and they have an off-flavor, like they're rotting on the vines. So that pretty much decides the fate of this plant.

I'd love to know what disease this was, if you have any ideas. I looked on several tomato disease websites, and didn't find anything to match my symptoms.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 3:46PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I'll get back to you on this but not today, just no time today.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 5:52PM
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Can't help with what the prob is, and hope it'll hold on long enough for those greenies to ripen, but if they don't it's time for you to make some fried green tomatoes. They're fabulous.

Rosie, Sugar Hill, GA

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 6:02PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

In one picture I can see the ring structures inside one spot and that says Early Blight to me and note the yellow area around it.

There certainly can be other foliage infections as well, please consider Bacterial Spot or Speck that you show, they are best seen on green leaves and seldom show yellow areas, but I can speak only to the early blight now.

All new foliage infections are spread by wind and rain and show up on the upper leaves.

When such infections show up first on the lower foliage it means that plants that were infected the previous year,or so, shed the spores and bacteria to the ground and what then happens is called splashback reinfection with those spores, etc, splashing back up on the lower foliage due to rain or irrigation and then the infections moving upward on the plants,

Blotchy ripening is a well known condition and I'll link to it below.


Here is a link that might be useful: blotchy ripening

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:50AM
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To avoid that splashing back, this year I used 2 types of mulch: fabric and .

Until now, no problems.

Both mulches are good. Straw might be difficult to find. Fabric allows LESS water to go through, so itâÂÂs a better for controlling water coming from the rain. Wind might blow the straw so I put on the straw, wire / mesh fence with metal stakes. The 4 in. staples I used for the fabric mulch, do not work for straw - they are too short. Even 6 in. staples might not work, because when you step on the wire / mesh, some staples - being too short - might come out. The metal stakes are 8 in. long and are ok.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 12:00PM
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rt_peasant(5 CO)

Thanks, Carolyn. I appreciate the feedback. So that I can learn from you, I'm curious in which picture you see ring structures in one spot. Is it in the picture labeled "Another close-up", with the spot in question being just left of center in the picture?

I went out this weekend and removed the affected plant from the garden. I didn't notice it before, but the stem had black streaks running down it. And the ripening fruit tasted spoiled.

Almost all of my tomatoes have some amount of early blight this year, or at least what I assume is early blight because it looks just the like the early blight picture from CSU. The tomatoes on those plants taste fine. I just keep cutting off the leaves with blight, and hope that the plants can outgrow the disease. For the most part, it's the lower leaves that are affected, so it sounds like I have some splashback issues to deal with.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 12:49PM
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Many people here are having all kinds of problems with their tomatoes, myself included.

The leaves are dying on entire stems while others on the same vine are ok.

The biggest problem (and it does not matter the verity) the tomatoes are rotting if they are touching anything. They rot before ripping if they are touching each other, Stem/stock, steak (wood or metal), leaf or another plant. But if you catch it in time and strip everything away from them to where they are not touching anything. They ripen and do good.

No one here can figure it out and no one has found a cure.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 1:01PM
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hippy wrote:

> They rot before ripping if they are touching each other.

Mine are ok, if they touch each other.

They might not be ok, if a prune a diseased plant, and than I prune a healthy plant WITHOUT disinfecting the pruning snip.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 9:45PM
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It is not that they are only rotting if they touch each other. They are rotting if they touch anything. A Tomato will rot if even part of a leaf on the same stem touches it. I did an experiment by ting a piece of thin cotton string loosely around a single tomato and in two days it turned black and rotted all the way round it just where the string was touching.

The only way to save them is to prune everything away from a single tomato and let that single one ripen.

Out of close to 100 plants. I have not gotten a bushel of ripe tomatoes. And I am not in the boat alone. Nearly everyone's are doing the same thing within a 5 to 10 mile radius of me.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 12:31AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Brown Cow, I was looking at the picture of what was Early Blight but failed to notice that it wasn't from your garden at all.

Sorry about that.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 9:52AM
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hippy, can we see some pictures please ?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:09AM
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