What's happening to my plants?

Asked June 28, 2018, 8:08 AM EDT

We think that it's probably because the soil has been so wet, but several of our plants have been getting brown leaves and dying. It has happened to our pumpkins, our tomatoes, our peppers, and our beans. I've attached a few pictures. Any thoughts?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thanks for your question, and I'm sorry to see what is happening to your plants. That this seems to have happened rather suddenly to a variety of your plants would suggest that a single disease is not a causative factor. Over-watering can certainly have a detrimental effect upon plants. The following should help you understand some of the signs of over-watering:


As this video indicates, over-watering can lead to a rotting of roots so that in spite of high water in the soil, plants cannot take up water. Not only can
this lead to browning of leaves, the overall plant starts to wilt. Looking at the pics
that you sent, I could still see some healthy leaves, albeit few, on the plants.

So I suspect something else is going on. If these effects were seen rather suddenly in all the plants you mentioned, then I think that what you are seeing is due to some herbicide. Have you and/or your neighbors recently applied herbicide to your yards? If so, what you may be experiencing is termed "herbicide drift". This simply means
that applied herbicides, be them in liquid or granular form, can vaporize, enter the air, and be carried significant distances. This can especially occur under conditions of high temperature and/or
high winds.

The following is a University of Minnesota site that deals with various tomato disorders including herbicide drift:


Realize that this drift can occur over considerable distances.

I would appreciate hearing back from you if any of these considerations apply to you.

Many thanks, and good luck!