Tomato plant problems

Asked July 30, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT

Hi-All of my tomato plants this year are having a problem where the leaves curl, then the branches yellow, brown, and die. There are no lesions on any of the stems, leaves, or fruit. I don't see any obvious fungus or insects. All the plants that I gave to other people are doing the same thing. The seed is from packets of cold-adapted heirloom varieties from last year (plants from same seed were perfect last year). These plants were lush and healthy in the greenhouse, grew big and healthy outside, then have gradually gotten worse outside. I have many plants in big tubs, and some in the ground, and all are behaving similarly. All are bearing fruit, but the plants are dying. Will you please look at the attached pictures & see if you recognize the problem? Is there anything I can do? Is the problem contagious (meaning, should I remove the plants from the area, sterilize tools, etc.)? Thanks, Jodi Keeling

Linn County Oregon tomato leaf curl horticulture

1 Response

Hello. My, your photos show some very sad tomatoes. Tomato leaves curl for many reasons. One reason is a watering issue. They can curl because the soil dries out too much in between waterings or because they remain too wet. Another reason that they can curl is the result of being hit with chemical drift from an herbicide. Since the tomatoes you gave to others have the same issues it is highly unlikely that everyone you gave tomatoes to had herbicide drift also hit their plants. Tomato leaves will also curl as a result of heavy pruning of the plant. With our unusually hot weather watering could be the issue. You did not mention you watering practices. This hot summer requires careful attention to be sure that plants are getting enough water consistently. Tomatoes need evenly moist soil at all times. As to what exactly has caused this problem it is difficult to tell from these photos. I suggest that you take a container or two into your local extension office and allow the Master Gardeners on duty take a look at your plants. The middle photo shows some leaves that could possibly have another issue but it is not possible to tell for sure what that might be. There are also a couple of diseases that cause tomato leaves to curl. The Linn County Extension office is located in Tangent at 33630 McFarland Road. Be sure to call first to ensure that a Master Gardener will be on duty when you get there: 541-967-3871.