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Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

Posted by organic_carissa (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 3, 07 at 14:14

Hi. I just noticed a couple of leaves on a recently purchased Black Krim. I know I've read a previous post on this same issue and Carolyn diagnosed it as some type of bug. I can't for the life of me find the post again.
Here's a picture of the leaf, can anyone help to diagnose?

Picture 1
Picture 2

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

I should also add (?) there are dead/dying blossoms on the plant as well.
Thanks again.

RE: Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

Hi! It was me who posted under "Mystery Disease".
My spots look something like yours, only they're smaller, and they're in focus (haha!) I'll try and post a photo, but I haven't successfully done that yet on this forum.
And although I appreciate Carolyn's excellent guess, I don't think my problem is the "Russet Mite". I put a white sheet of paper under the leaves as soon as it was light this morning, and shook and shook, and nothing fell, which if it were mites at least some would have fallen on the white page. Plus I don't have the "greasy feel" that mite-infested plants are supposed to have, as you squish them while touching the stem. And Russet Mites supposedly start from the ground up, and my spots are only on the top of the plant, on leaves and stems. Since no other very-closely-planted plants are infected, my hunch is it's a virus, but who knows?
I worry that I might have to pull the plant, so it doesn't spread.
Carla in Sac

RE: Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

Carissa, I suggested Russet Mites to Carla b'c she lives in CA and it's a known problem there, and I saw no pictures so just had to go on her description.

Carissa, where do you live and garden for tomato diseases are regionalized.

Carla, the only other disease I know of where the description includes the words rusty looking spots is TOmato Spotted Wilt Disease and I don't know if it's found in CA or not.

Carissa, I honestly can't tell much about your leaves b'c the two you show at the front are not in focus, as Carla, mentioned to you. ( smile) But I'm wondering if they might be suffering from too much water, or poor drainage, especially after lookoing at the curled leaves near the bottom of the plants.


RE: Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

Hi Carolyn. Thanks for the response. I live in West Michigan, Zone 6.
Sorry about the pictures ;), I have a pretty crappy camera. I'll see if I can touch them up in paint shop-- if I can I'll repost.
The plant itself is not looking the greatest at all-- but I've attributed that to transplant shock, as I just planted it on Saturday. The bottom leaves are a little curled and the stem and leaves have a purplish hew to them.
The weather hasn't been the greatest here, cooler and little sunshine.

RE: Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 3, 07 at 18:51


Your camera works fine. You just missed the focus. (Notice that leaves farther back are in good focus.)Perhaps you were too close for the camera you have.

To me, looks like environmental stress. As in too hot and/or brief water shortage and/or sunscorch.

RE: Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

Was the plant well hardened off before transplanting? Most the other symptoms you describe are typical to new transplants and this one spot pictured could easily be nothing more than some leaf or root damage from transplanting. Is that cedar mulch in the pic? If so, it could easily be the cause of the leaf damage. It looks like it may need to be pulled away a bit from the base of the plants too so there is no direct contact with the stems.

I'd give them some time to recover from transplanting and then see how they do. A bad leaf here or there really isn't anything to worry about. Tomatoes are tough guys. ;)


RE: Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

OK, good. Thanks for the diagnosis. I suppose I'm just being paranoid after spending hours a day over the past few weeks reading about all the diseases, etc. known to plague tomato plants.
Thanks again.

RE: Spotted leaves/look like rusty paint drops

Sometimes leaves die after transplanting. It IS a shock to them to be suddenly in new conditions.

If you start to see leaves dying from the bottom up, new upper leaves pale, leaves turning yellow with green veins, leaves getting concentric rings of yellow and brown, etc, as the plants settle in and mature, then you may have some problems. But see how they are doing in a week, they may recover just fine.

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