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Eek! Please help: Curling leaves??

Posted by emcd124 5 (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 11:11

I am a relative newbie gardener, and a long time lurker on gardenweb's tomato board. I've read through a number of posts on here about curling leaves (including the most recent one), and because most people seem to say that they really need pictures to distinguish among various causes (like pesticides, over/under watering, etc) I thought I would start a thread for my poor curling plants. I would really love any help y'all can give me. This is only my second year growing tomatoes, and I winter sowed them all so I love them like children!

Background facts: It has been hot around here, but until yesterday not brutal (avg 85-95 daytime). I water with a soaker hose for about 20-30 minutes twice a week when it is consistently hot and not raining. I stick my fingers down into the dirt and I only water when it feels really really dry at the tips of my fingers, but not actually bone dry.

I had just fertilized about two days before the curling started, so I'm wondering if that is the problem. I usually use tomatone, which says to do it every 2 weeks during fruiting season. I recently got a bag of pellet long release fertilizer, so I put down about half of the tomatone and half of the pellet recommended amounts, into a circle around the bottom of the plant about 3" from the stem and gently worked it into the top of the soil.

As you can see in pictures below, the curling doesnt seem to be affecting the whole plant. It seems to be affecting leaves almost randomly, like all the leaves on one shoot will curl, but ones from a branch next door will be fine. On most of the plants the lower leaves are affected but the uppers are fine.

I looked for traces of bugs and didn't see anything, though that doesnt mean they aren't there.

The other pattern I've observed is that the curling seems to be worst in my raised box #3 (with the Tula and Stupice), present but less extreme in box #2 next door, and only moderately present in box #1 (farthest away, hosting green zebra and yellow pear), but I put the fertilizer out in roughly equal measure everywhere.

My "stupice" tomatoes, this plant has been vigorous and hardiest of all my plants until now:

And a close up of the curling on the Stupice:

it is also affecting my "Black from Tula" which is 24" away from the Stupice:

But Tula is fine up top:

This guy (either a yellow pear or a roma, I forget) is affected, but much less severely. He lives in a raised bed that is adjascent to the bed with Tula and Stupice.


The curling is much less dramatic on him:

I also pulled a couple of leaves that look like this:

The damaged areas on the leaves only seems to have appeared after we had our first 100 degree day and the tomatoes hadnt been watered in a bit, so I am hoping that is just sun scald or heat stroke or something, not a late blight or other issue.

EEK! Please help my tomatoes!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Eek! Please help: Curling leaves??

My first question would be why none of your plants are mulched? That alone could resolve the Physiological Tomato Leaf Roll - that's the name of the condition you are seeing and a search will pull up lots of info on it. Since you have already read through many discussions here, you likely know it is caused by something causing stress on the plants.

The possible causes of that stress are many - root development, fertilizing, poorly draining soil, hot soil temps, etc. etc. - but inconsistent soil moisture levels is one of the most common.

It can be difficult to diagnose from pics unless they are close ups but those leaves look like early Alternaria so personally I would begin a fungicide spraying program.

Hope this helps.


RE: Eek! Please help: Curling leaves??

The final image is of sunburn/sunscald. When possible, rig temporary shade well above the plants prior to the heat's arrival.

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