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Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Posted by heartsy z8 LA (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 31, 08 at 22:39

My tomatoes are up about 10 inches high. The plants look good and have no insect damage to them, but at the start of the leaves where they are attached to the stem, they are bright yellow in color. Could someone tell me what is causing this. The plants are not drooping, they look healthy except for the strange color in the leaves. Could this be a nutrient deficiency.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Are your plants outside in the ground or in a coldframe or inside? If they are in the garden now, have you or anyone close to you sprayed Round Up since they were planted out? I learned the hard way that RU can be carried on the slightest breeze quite a distance and the symptoms sound like that. We have discussed the issue here in previous years. There is a chance that your plants will survive but their vigor may be compromised.


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Hi, yes, indeed, 1)Roundup is a potent plant poison. 2)Many times overwatering will cause the leaves to yellow as the roots become starved for oxygen. 3)I've used a little Epsom salts to overcome yellowing also, depends on where the plants are growing, they might need a little magnesium. 4)Don't pile on a bunch of nitrogen fert to correct yellowing, it'll actually weaken the plant and entice insect problems. That's all I can think of right now. Best of luck.


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

If the yellowing is just at the place where the leaf attaches to the main stem and it's the lower leaves that are yellowing only at the attachment site, then I consider that normal, especially if it's the cotyledons doing that.

Different herbicides do cause different symptoms and if it were Roundup, aka glyphospate, you'd see whitish yellowing on the NEWEST growth of leaves at the base of the leaf itself, not just at the attachement site as you said above.

Hope that helps.

Carolyn, who certainly does know Roundup drift symtoms b'c she did it herself trying to eliminate weeds between the rows before a large Cornell Cooperative field day gathering, just so the fieled would look clean and pretty. ( smile) However, every single plant recovered, thankfully. Sigh.


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

I tried to find a better picture link, but this one is similar to what I had that was Roundup Drift. As Carolyn said, some yellowing is normal, but if your plants look like this, it is probably Round-up, which I think was the final consensus on that thread. You would think that RU would just make your plants shrivel and die, but the drift really does make the centers of new growth take on this strange yellow color and they can outgrow it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Damage pictures


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

You know ... these questions about discoloration in tomato leaves come up on a really regular basis in this forum. It would be very helpful if the concern were accompanied by good pictures. Otherwise, any diagnosis is purely guesswork and could be so far off base as to be comical.

Even with pictures, a correct disease or nutrient deficiency diagnosis can be tricky. But pictures sure would help.

Many times discoloration of tomato leaves are simply nutrient deficiencies and can be quickly and effectively corrected. For example, since nitrogen is mobile in plant tissue and is most needed at the growing tip and developing foliage, a tomato plant will pull nitrogen from lower leaves and move it to the points of new growth. As the nitrogen is moved from lower leaves, those leaves yellow. The emerging and developing leaves become and remain lush ... until later, when their nitrogen store is robbed to provide N to the later emerging growth, and so on.

Yes, this is natural; but if the plant has a sufficient nitrogen supply, the lower leaves will remain lush green. If the nitrogen supply is extremely deficient, the plant will be stunted. Simple as that. And that's why tomato plants need fertilizer that contains nitrogen ... whether that fertilizer is in the form of organic matter or synthetic products.

I'm zeroing in on nitrogen here simply because the original question involved the following specific concerns:

1. Tomatoes up about 10 inches high
2. Plants look good and have no insect damage
3. Where the leaves are attached to the stem, they are bright yellow in color
4. The plants are not drooping, they look healthy except for the color in the leaves
5. Could this be a nutrient deficiency?

I suspect yes, and I suspect the plants need nitrogen. But again, that's pure speculation without pictures that clearly show the symptoms.

Here are some links to pictures and information that may help:

Diagnosis of Mineral Deficiencies Using Photos

Symptoms of Deficiency in Specific Minerals

At that second Web page, scroll halfway down the page to "Nitrogen" (which I have quoted most of below, and added comments in parentheses).

The chlorotic symptoms (see figure) shown by this leaf resulted from nitrogen deficiency. Under nitrogen deficiency, the older mature leaves gradually change from their normal characteristic green appearance to a much paler green. As the deficiency progresses these older leaves become uniformly yellow.

Leaves approach a yellowish white color under extreme deficiency. The young leaves at the top of the plant maintain a green but paler color and tend to become smaller in size. Branching is reduced in nitrogen deficient plants resulting in short, spindly plants (STUNTED).

The yellowing in nitrogen deficiency is uniform over the entire leaf (which the OP does not indicate exactly in his question ... hence the need for photos) including the veins. However in some instances, an interveinal necrosis replaces the chlorosis commonly found in many plants.

In some plants the underside of the leaves and/or the petioles and midribs develop traces of a reddish or purple color. In some plants this coloration can be quite bright.

As the deficiency progresses, the older leaves also show more of a tendency to wilt under mild water stress and become senescent much earlier than usual. Recovery of deficient plants to applied nitrogen is immediate and spectacular (<< hey, what better advertisement for using FERTILIZER?).

Disclaimer: When using fertilizer on tomatoes, make sure and use one that is formulated for tomatoes and supplies more phosphorus than nitrogen, because at some point in the development of the plant, it must convert over from being nitrogen-rich to phosphorus-rich to develop flowers and fruit rather than continuing to favor foliage and new growth. This conversion can be accomplished with fertilizers, pruning, topping, etc.; but it must happen. Therefore, employ proven methods recommended for tomato culture ... not speculation and folklore.


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

You know ... these questions about discoloration in tomato leaves come up on a really regular basis in this forum. It would be very helpful if the concern were accompanied by good pictures. Otherwise, any diagnosis is purely guesswork and could be so far off base as to be comical.
Even with pictures, a correct disease or nutrient deficiency diagnosis can be tricky. But pictures sure would help

******

Absolutely pictures would be a help Bill, but not everyone is set up with a camera and the know how to take pictures to show online.

I happen to be one of them. LOL

I found it interestoing that even though the poster said only yellow at the stem attachment and made no comment about any discoloration/symptoms of the leaf itself, and that even though others had suggested possible Roundup damage, and we all agree that pictures would be best, and I suggested just natural shedding of the cotyledons, that you still went ahead and suggested a possible N deficiency. ( smile)

(Otherwise, any diagnosis is purely guesswork and could be so far off base as to be comical.)

So what you're saying is that we're all using guesswork and some diagnoses could be comical, including yours as well.( wink)

Well, I'm not laughing, really, but I think all of us are trying to help, guesswork or comical be our answers, in the absence of pictures or any comments about leaf symptoms other than yellow at the attachement site.

Carolyn, where it's 68 F right now but yet another cold front moving in and temps to drop to near 20F tonght. Darndest weather I've seen in years, and I've seen many years. LOL


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Carolyn says, "So what you're saying is that we're all using guesswork and some diagnoses could be comical, including yours as well.( wink)"

Yes, without pictures, that's exactly what I'm saying.

And that goes for "only yellow at the place where the leaves attach to the stems," because regarding a 10-inch tall plant (pretty young, really) and without pictures, we don't know if the poster is talking about whether the "yellowing" is in the cotyledons, first true leaves, top growth, or whether a possible nitrogen deficiency is just now beginning to manifest ... whatever ... or even what EXACTLY is meant by "where the leaves are attached to the stem, they are bright yellow in color" do we? :::smile:::

Bill


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow//

And that goes for "only yellow at the place where the leaves attach to the stems," because regarding a 10-inch tall plant (pretty young, really) and without pictures, we don't know if the poster is talking about whether the "yellowing" is in the cotyledons, first true leaves, top growth, or whether a possible nitrogen deficiency is just now beginning to manifest ... whatever ... or even what EXACTLY is meant by "where the leaves are attached to the stem, they are bright yellow in color" do we? :::smile:::

*****

Nope, we don't know much at all.

Heartsy, would you please chime in and clarify some of these issues so we can make more sense of what's happening with your plants?

Thanks

Carolyn


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Well she lives in Louisiana and the plants are already planted, in pots (unknown size), outside (per her page and the "no bugs") and the weather there has apparently been inconsistent this past week with cooler temps, wind, and quite a bit of rain (excess moisture and nutrient leaching from containers). This per the Weather Channel.

We all know EXACTLY what is meant by "start of the leaves where they are attached to the stem" (if not, then we are in serious trouble here ;) but we don't know if it's cotyledons or not.

So, assuming it is NOT the cotyledons where this would be a perfectly normal thing and so of no concern, my best "guesswork" is that there is no real problem. And if we have to wait for pictures from everyone before we try to help cover all the possible bases then we are in even more trouble than not knowing where the leaf joins the stem. ;)

If the plants look healthy otherwise as stated above then they most likely are. They are in the process of adjusting to being transplanted and to the inconsistent weather problems and once those contributing factors disappear, so will the concerns.

Heartsy - assuming you are using a decent size container and a decent container mix that has added time-released fertilizers in it then they will be fine. If it doesn't then don't over-water it, let it dry out some, protect it from the wind if necessary, and feed it on a regular basis with a balanced fertilizer - preferably one intended for tomatoes.

Most importantly - enjoy your plants and the fruits thereof. ;)

Dave


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow//

We all know EXACTLY what is meant by "start of the leaves where they are attached to the stem" (if not, then we are in serious trouble here ;) but we don't know if it's cotyledons or not.

*****

Dave, I did say above that I considered it normal if it were the cotyledons OR the lower leaves falling off, that I would consider it as being normal and still do.

For sure we can't wait to try and diagnose something only if there are pictures, but I don't know if Heartsy is set up for taking pictures, which is why I asked above if that were possible.

I think I'm going to get me another user name sometime and post some tomato plant problems and just let 'er rip.LOL

I used to spend lots and lots of time in the Tomato Disease and Pest Forum, but don't do that anymore and hope that others have taken up diagnosing problems there, which is what that Forum was set up to do.

Carolyn


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Oh I agree with you Carolyn. I just don't agree with Bill that "any diagnosis is purely guesswork and could be so far off base as to be comical."

Sure pics would be nice and so would sufficient details included in the OP's. But we all know that just ain't gonna happen. ;)

So we do the best we can with what we have to work with. And we try to provide some reassurance because we also know that 80% of the time there is no serious problem and that is all the question poster is looking for - reassurance.

As to the Pests & Disease forum - dead in the water. Haven't seen anyone but me over there for months so can't really fault folks for not posting there. But it is currently current.

Dave


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Well ... there you have it folks. The best advice available from the world of tomatoes. No need to worry about vagueness inherent in day-to-day online English usage or speculative interpretation of "bright," "otherwise healthy," "where the leaves meet the stems," or any other of a number of non-specific, subject-to-individual-interpretation terms.

For example: is it where the individual leaflets meet the leaf rachis, where the petiolule of the compound leaflets meets the rachis, or where the larger leaf structure's petiole joins the central growing stem at the internode? Hmmm. Makes me wonder just what leaf tissue is really yellowing. The thin, flat, soft stuff or the round, woody, stemmy stuff?

But ... what the hey ... no matter ... we got folks here willing to make diagnoses on limited verbal descriptions of signs and symptoms that would be better interpreted from photographs. But oh ... that's right ... not everyone has a camera. And why heck look at other online photographs of diseases and deficiencies and use one of those tools that horticulturalists have taken the time to provide. Nah. Not worth the bother.

And what was the first diagnosis out of the box? ROUNDUP! Hahahahahahaha.

Carry on, my wayward friends.


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Given my experience with having "Rounded Up" my own tomatoes and the help in identifying that by members of these forums, I do not think my sugestion as to a possible diagnosis was that funny. As we all know, because deficiencies and disease manifest themselves in so many similar traits, we all agree that more information is needed. That is why I prefaced my suggetion with a series of questions to get further details and even found a picture link hoping we could at least get a response if that was what the poster was talking about or not. Unfortunately, several members have offered input, but there is a lack the information needed to help. I have noticed alot of one-time posters that post something and then seem to disappear.


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Awww come on Bill. Lighten up. ;) We aren't talking brain surgery here!

We all know that forums, not to mention the English language, are "vague" by nature.

We also know that tomato plants are very resilient. They tolerate neglect far better than they do meticulous, detailed, excessive care.

Dave


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

Good point , Dave. It seems that some tomatoe growers should also dabble in cannibis farming. Despite all the "vagueness", many good ideas were thrown out there. That's what the original questioner was asking for. I enjoy this forum.


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RE: Tomato leaves turning bright yellow

"Good point , Dave. It seems that some tomatoe (sic) growers should also dabble in cannibis (sic) farming. Despite all the "vagueness", many good ideas were thrown out there. That's what the original questioner was asking for. I enjoy this forum."

Yes, and seems some posters may wish to dabble in the dictionary before posting a message.


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