Tomato Viruses

Asked August 19, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT

Tomatoes are planted in sterilized cattle feeder molasses pots. Very well drained. Tomatoes are VERY healthy until the heavy bloom stage then leaves & limbs start dying bottom up. Plant produces some fruit, not a lot. Local Nursery owner diagnosed virus. Treatment was Hydrogen Peroxide/Water weak solution. Need advice on Virus prevention-start to finish.

Calhoun County Texas

7 Responses

I am going to assume your problem is caused by a virus and not something else. First, you need to know which virus is causing the problem (100's attack tomatoes and each are different in how they were transmitted). You can send plant samples to the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab in College Station to see which virus is the problem and there is a fee. Download paperwork from their website and send. If you do not plan to do this and want something general then you need to find a tomato that has virus resistance to some of the 100's of viruses and that may help. There are no chemicals to spray for viruses other than if aphid, whitefly or psyllid transmitted then insecticides to reduce those insects that transmit those type of viruses.

I did, in fact, send a sample to the Aggies & the findings were a Mosaic Tobacco Virus. They offered no cure or prevention.
No Tobacco products are even close to the plants.


Tobacco mosaic virus attacks many plants to include plants that are related such as tobacco, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers as well as many weed species. It can originate from the seed but then spread by touching infected plants and spreading to uninfected plants. Some insects may move the virus from plant to plant but this is minor. So plant resistant varieties such as Celebrity, Contessa and Gulfstream. Wash hands before handling tomato plants and especially if handling tobacco products.

I sterilized all my pots & completely replaced soil before last planting. Plants still contracted Virus. Should I start over again at Fall planting?

Yes, just be sure to use tobacco mosaic tomato varieties to help you with this problem.

How long will the Virus remain in the soil? How can I sterilize the soil?

It can last many years so you may want to sterilize the soil but I think it would cost less if you buy new soil or potting mixture and just steriize the pots.