This morning I discovered one of my tomato plants had all its top leaves...

Asked July 8, 2013, 10:34 AM EDT

This morning I discovered one of my tomato plants had all its top leaves stripped, leaving stems only. One small green tomato was eaten in half. The garden is protected by electric fence so I doubt squirrels. Could a snake do it? Hornworms? Other causes?

Updated a few hours later: After researching hornworms, the most likely cause, I re-examined affected plants and found two hornworms. I will monitor and try to find others, plus use spray.

Calvert County Maryland

1 Response

The damage to your tomatoes most likely was caused by the tomato hornworm. Snakes cannot do this type of damage. The following link shows a photo of a hornworm parasitized by beneficial wasps (scroll down to the last photo). http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/level3.cfm?causeID=1272
If you find any hornworms that look like this, leave them alone. These will die anyway and these beneficial wasps will be able to complete their lifecycle.
dr