Tomatoes and basil with a disease.

Asked July 1, 2014, 11:14 AM EDT

What is this? It's on several tomato, basil, and cabbage plants.

Berks County Pennsylvania fruits and vegetables master gardener program horticulture

5 Responses

Hi what does the rest of the plant look like. Are the leaves affected? Have you use any herbicides or pesticides in your garden? At first glance it looks like some kind of injury, but more info would be very helpful.


We use no pesticides or any other chemicals. The affected plants all had severely stunted growth. Leaves were green, but underdeveloped.

Hi, it sounds to me like it could be damage from a chemical that stunted the growth and damaged the stalks. The photos look like an injury occurred to the stalks, like a side shoot was tore off or something like that. I checked our research material and that is what I came up with. There is one photo in our one book that shows a similar looking tomato plant stalk and the info says it is pesticide damage. If the plants are doing OK now and show no signs of deterioration I would wait to see what happens.


There were absolutely no chemicals used in the garden. There are also small pebble-like growths coming out of the stalks where they split open. Please check the second picture again.

The reason I think it is pesticide damage is that the three plants basil (mint or deadnettle family), tomato (nightshade family) and cabbage (crucifer family) are not in the same family. They are in three different families. Therefor it is highly unlikely that they would get the same diseases. However they could all display damage from insecticides. I understand that you do not spray. Do you live in an area near farm fields? If so mist from spraying can drift a good distance and it doesn't take much of a strong pesticide like round up or 2,4-D to damage a plant. Another possibility is if you live in a development and your neighbors spray or have a lawn service spray their properties perhaps that could also drift. The pebble looking bumps could be part of the callousing over process that plants use to heal when injured. If I were you I would take a plant with this issue to your extension office in Berks County. They will have a person there staffing their garden hotline. They should be able to shed more light on what the issue could be.