tomato leaves - bug, fungus, heat??

jenny7c(5)August 2, 2011


I've read a lot of messages on this forum this summer as this is my first time growing tomatoes (in containers). I couldn't find one that matches this ... These are close-ups of leaves on a sungold plant. I first noticed the little white-ish dots yesterday I think. The bottom half of leaves on the plant have yellow / dried up and died, so I've taken most of them off (the photo including the pot shows the extent of this). This seems to be progressing up the plant however. The top half seems very healthy, and this is my most productive (just started getting ripe recently) of all three plants that I have.

For my other tomato plant, I figured out today that I'm probably over-watering because it has started to have the root bumps on the stem and it is also wilting (which I had thought was heat/sun), but together, it sounds like they are more likely to be overwatering. So I added mulch to all 3 plants today.

Thanks for any suggestions.

This should be a link to one of the images:

This should be a link to a set of 6 photos of the leaves I uploaded to picasa, and all photos can be zoomed in on further.


Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Album on Picasa of Leaves

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do they look like this, if so then they lacking magnesium.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 5:36PM
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Looks like mite damage.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 8:02PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

I hesitate to label your problem ,but offer a great link to decide for yourself.
The bumps do not mean over watering ,the bumps are the begining of Adventitious roots trying to find moisture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Disease ID

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:05PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

I suspect mites, also.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 1:48AM
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Thanks for the input everyone. Mites do seem the most likely for at least part of the problem - the white dot-like unattached things on the back of the leaves. When I took leaves in to the garden store, they couldn't see them clearly, but thought that seemed plausible as well as a possibility of an iron deficiency (which might go along with the magnesium deficiency). Another plant was apparently showing a start of a fungus.

So I pruned back mostly dead parts, applied a mite spray and copper fungicide, and I will fertilize when I next water them. So I hope that works!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 2:20PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Definitely not iron deficiency.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:38PM
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this lack of iron.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 5:12PM
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thanks for following up - I've looked at a lot of the pages showing pictures of different conditions, but haven't been able to match it well. Others I've talked to at the garden store have been more immediately knowledgeable than the person who helped me yesterday.

Thus far, at least, stuff hasn't continued spreading after the pruning and treatment yesterday.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 8:11AM
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bobb_2002(Z6 S.W. CT)

I've had similar problems in the past, and they turned out to be mites. The leaves get kind of frosty looking on top with lots of white or yellow dots and eventually curl and dry up. You might suspect sun scald but if you look underneath you see tiny eggs and spider mites. Mites are almost invisible unless you have a strong lighted magnifier, at least 20x or 30x. If you search eBay for "lighted loupe" there are many different kinds starting at about $4 including shipping. Mites can reproduce very quickly in hot weather and you can have many thousands on each plant. They are right now attacking my eggplant and tomato plants. I sprayed then with malathion but there are other remedies you can use.
Bob B.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 5:49PM
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bobb_2002(Z6 S.W. CT)

I've read a couple of articles that suggest some insecticides only aggravate mite problems, even malathion which is supposed to be effective, so I will switch to summer oil and see if that improves things; here is an example from Univ. of California,

Spider mites frequently become a problem after the application of insecticides. Such outbreaks are commonly a result of the insecticide killing off the natural enemies of the mites, but also occur when certain insecticides stimulate mite reproduction. For example, spider mites exposed to carbaryl (Sevin) in the laboratory have been shown to reproduce faster than untreated populations. Carbaryl, some organophosphates, and some pyrethroids apparently also favor spider mites by increasing the level of nitrogen in leaves. Insecticides applied during hot weather usually appear to have the greatest effect on mites, causing dramatic outbreaks within a few days.

If a treatment for mites is necessary, use selective materials, preferably insecticidal soap or insecticidal oil. Petroleum-based horticultural oils or neem oils are both acceptable. Do not use soaps or oils on water-stressed plants or when temperatures exceed 90�F. These materials may be phytotoxic to some plants, so check labels and/or test them out on a portion of the foliage several days before applying a full treatment. Oils and soaps must contact mites to kill them so excellent coverage, especially on the undersides of leaves, is essential and repeat applications may be required. Sulfur dust or spray can be used on some vegetables, but will burn cucurbits. Do not use sulfur dust if temperatures exceed 90�F and do not apply sulfur within 30 days of an oil spray. Sulfur dusts are skin irritants and eye and respiratory hazards. Always wear appropriate protective clothing.

Bob B.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 2:52PM
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