Curl Issue

Asked June 13, 2017, 8:25 PM EDT

Pics 2&3 are San Marzano. Pics 4&5 are Boxcar Willies. Pic # 5 sent separately. 3 1/2 weeks since transplanted in ground. Issue began 2 weeks ago. Top parts of plants affected. Symptoms continue. Full sun. No soil issues. Ortho Bug b gone applied to lawn 2 weeks before sod was removed. Miracle gro garden soil and bagged compost & manure from Walmart was added when garden area was tilled. What is causing the curling issue with plants. Thanks for your help.

Baltimore County Maryland

3 Responses

Leaf curling may be caused by aphids, water and heat stress, herbicide drift, and a varietal characteristic.

We viewed your photos. This looks like possible herbicide damage on your tomatoes maybe from drift. See our website for more information and photos. See our website

You can monitor your tomatoes. It is possible that they can grow out of the damage. You may be able to do some minor pruning.
If the plants do not grow out of it, all you can do is replant. You may want to buy some plants at the garden center as a precaution.

You also sent a photo in Question #406964. There are aphids on the tomato foliage. They cause a downward leaf curling. However, this is secondary to the herbicide damage. Usually beneficial insects control the aphids. You can spray them with a strong stream of water from a hose.

See our publication on tomatoes and our Vegetable Profile

2 follow up questions.

1) if we top out the plants and remove the deformed growth, will the plants continue to grow and produce ?

2) If lawn and weed killer was used on the lawn 1-2 months prior to removing sod, adding garden soil, compost & manure, will the transplanted tomato roots be affected by the weedkiller ?

As we mentioned above, the plants may grow out of it, but we can't say for sure, espeically without knowing what herbicide is the causal chemical.
Herbicide drift can travel far, even from neighbors down the street.

Do you know the active ingredient of the "lawn and weed killer" product you applied to the sod? Tomatoes are particularly sensitive to herbicides, and labels often tell you the period you must wait before planting certain crops. It could definitely still be in the soil.

You could test the soil for other crops by planting a bean seed. They germinate quickly, and growth distortion can indicate soil problems.