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Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Posted by tbs727 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 30, 11 at 9:19

Good morning, all! This is my first post and I'm trying to follow the rules.:) I've searched but haven't been able to find a solution to my tomato problem yet.

Yesterday I went out to find one of my Early Girl plants completely wilted from top to bottom. I checked the soil and it is moist, not wet or dry. All the other toms around it look fine. I dusted with diatomaceious earth for aphids. I have seen aphids but only a few.

This morning it's still wilted and I did find some dead aphids. I also found one of my green toms on the plant with a "bite" out of the top. I say bite because it doesn't appear that any kind of worm chewed into it. Just a little bite off the top, about the size of the end of a pencil, maybe a bit smaller.

Any suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

It's good to have your city & state in your profile so that it appears everytime you post; that would make answering your questions easier by eliminating many possibilities...


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Ok, I'll fix that. I'm in Northwest Arkansas. We got loads of rain followed by extreme heat. I have photos if I can figure out how to load them.


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Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato 0

Here's a photo...

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato wilt


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

  • Posted by tbs727 6-northwest Arkansas (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 1, 11 at 9:02

Would there be any harm in treating for fungus? This is my second year gardening and I haven't had to deal with it before. Is there a homemade/natural recipe?


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Don't think that is any fungus. There are no signs of any fungus on the plant. Doesn't even look like any of the viral diseases.

Assuming it has had access to the same amount of water as those other plants then that plant appears to be dying from some sort of injury - either major root damage or most likely some sort of break/damage in the primary stem down low. Examine the primary stem carefully all the way down for any signs of injury/damage.

Either way I fear it is too far gone to salvage.

Dave


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

i never had to deal with a cut worm or horn worm, but as dave said there seems to be something wrong down low with the stem or roots.


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

It was very strange, it just completely wilted overnight. There are no signs of any damage on the stem anywhere, but I know something could have gotten the root system. There are no signs of moles. Should I do anything to prevent this from happening or do you think it's just an unfortunate fluke? I don't really mind losing one of the 20 plants but I don't want to lose the rest.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Any gophers around your place?


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Stem injury may not be all that obvious, especially to new growers, but I'd bet there is some there. Various types of borers will do that to a plant and only a entry hole will be visible. Another possibility is damping-off. If damp-off is the cause there will be a dark brown to black band around the stem right at or just above the soil line.

To determine if it is root damage you'll have to pull the plant of course. Let us know what you find. And I'd sure get some good mulch around the rest of those plants. That bare ground needs to be covered. :)

Dave


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Thanks Dave. I have a few little toms on the plant I want to salvage, but I may not be able to. I'll pull up the plant and see what I can find. I'm seeing wilt on the lower leaves of many of my other plants and I'm getting paranoid.

I actually mulched with newspaper when I planted these fellas. Obviously it's time to do it again! Thanks for the reminder. :)


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

I would be shocked if that happened to me.

Like Dave said, there's no sign of disease.

Gophers or voles gnaw roots so that could be a problem.

Could root knot nematodes be the problem? I don't know - I've never seen the damage from them. The roots would be huge (fat) and knotty, like roots on steroids. You would probably see other symptoms first, like chlorotic leaves.

Any chance that this particular plant is close to a walnut tree or walnut tree roots?

I'm stumped, but willing to bet that it's mechanical damage from some sort of pest. The roots and/or stem must be damaged somehow to cause overnight damage with no other signs.


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Ok, I found a couple of interesting things in my investigation this evening.

Here are the tomatoes that came off that plant...
Photobucket

This is hard to see, but there is a white, flakey substance on one of the large roots...
Photobucket

Oh, and I found this guy a few plants down. I smashed him.
Photobucket


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

I'm also seeing some wilt in lower leaves of several other plants. It's been 95+ for quite a while (and 90+ for a month already! yuk!) so I'm assuming that's from heat.


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Had that happen to a great big mortgage lifter in the ground last year and it was loaded with toms! I decided it was some type of critter, golphers are common here. LInda


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

The creepy worms you're seeing are fruitworms. Info linked below. They make my skin crawl.

Regular applications of insecticide (about once per week) will take care of that problem.

That's a separate issue from what's happening with the roots. Fruitworms don't have any effect on the roots, just the fruit.

Is that the entire root? Looks like it's growth was stunted and fungi started to form on the roots. I'm still going with the too much water or soggy soil, perhaps due to poor drainage, as the culprit. Also, there could have been some sort of physical barrier that prevented the root from growing and thriving.

Perhaps someone else will see something different with those roots.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fruitworm Info


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Oops

The above post was made based on partially wrong info due to reading multiple threads and confusing them.

"I'm still going with the too much water or soggy soil, perhaps due to poor drainage, as the culprit. Also, there could have been some sort of physical barrier that prevented the root from growing and thriving."

This statement is wrong for this discussion. Please disregard.

Back to the root photo...there aren't a lot of feeder roots on the particular root branch. What do the other roots on this plant look like?


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

  • Posted by tbs727 6-northwest Arkansas (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 4, 11 at 13:30

Sorry, no that wasn't the entire root, it was the only abnormal thing I could find on the whole system when I pulled it up. The roots were well formed, no damage, and looked healthy except for that one spot of white which looked like mold to me. The roots were not particularly deep, though, which I know isn't good and I'm switching my watering methods to deep watering 1-2x a week with a soaker hose.


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

I kill those suckers once or twice per day with scissors if I see them, and a good sign of invasion is if you see their poop on your plant. I call out a search party at that time! A careful inspection of the plant, in my experience, helps me catch these wormy guys before they can do too much damage. They are quick little guys who can do serious damage to a tomato plant in very little time. Honestly, I've found various types of worms(hornworms) and caterpillars on my plants and leaves through the years, but I've always been able to control them by hand. This is only my 3rd year gardening, however, so I'm still nowhere near an expert.


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

Okay, let's go back to leaves. I see some white on some of the leaves. Is that just a color issue with the photo or are there white/light grey matter on the leaves. Is it dried fungicide?

Also, were there any brown spots on the leaves before the plants started wilting? What about after the plants started to wilt - any lesions?

Are the other plants still healthy?


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RE: Addendum

Going back to the first photo, the one that's a full body shot of the plant, if the whitish or grayish stuff is not something that was applied, I would consider powdery mildew and/or spider mites. Mostly powdery mildew.

Zooming in on the photo makes the details fuzzy, so I can't be sure if there's something there or it's these aging eyes. :-)

Check out the link below and see if that fits.

If not, maybe you could take photos of the detail of a few different leaves and possibly a stem so that we could get a closer look at any possible disease.

Here is a link that might be useful: Powdery Mildew Info and Photos


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RE: Wilted tomato plant and damaged tomato

This is an old thread, but since I came across it while looking for something else, thought I'd put my 2 cents in for the archive.

The OP's wilt problem looks to me exactly like Bacterial Wilt - green, badly-wilted leaves happening overnight with maturing fruit already on the plant.

I've been struggling with it two years in a row. Online, most sources say nothing much you can do about it except pull the plant, plant elsewhere next year, plant resistant varieties, etc. Personally, I find that advice hard to live with for a variety of reasons, so I've been experimenting. What I've learned so far is that:

1)watering the soil makes things worse - the disease affects water transport in the stems so the water never makes it to the leaves, and meanwhile, the water in the soil seems to help the bacteria thrive. When I let the soil dry out some, the most badly affected stems start to die off, but the less affected stems seem okay, especially with some foliar feeding. I think part of the key to dealing with Bacterial Wilt is to allow the soil to be fairly dry and foliar feed the healthier parts of the plant when they need water.

2)Foliar feeding with milk/water mixtures (I've sometimes added some epsom salt, molasses, some fish emulsion), helps the less affected stems to strengthen up in relation to the disease.

Using the above two ideas, as of yesterday, my plants were looking greatly improved. However, it's now pouring rain, so I may be back at square one by tomorrow!


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