Tomato issue: virus, pest, other?

Asked July 13, 2018, 12:34 PM EDT

Hi there, I am a first-time tomato grower, and am noticing some symptoms that lead me to believe the tomatoes are not well. The leaves are curling, and some of the leaves have yellow spots, and some of them are yellowed. They just started producing a few fruits. They are cherry tomatoes that I am growing in a 5 gallon Root Pouch in soil that is a mix of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. I water them if the soil feels dry about 1/2 inch down. They are in an exposed, sunny location in my front yard. Also, I recently fed tall my veggies this: It is a 2-5-3 granular fertilizer. Could this be a virus, pest, or other problem with the growing conditions? Thanks so much for your help! Let me know if you need additional images or information.

District of Columbia County District of Columbia

3 Responses

Based on the symptoms we see in two of the photos we think your plants were contaminated by a phenoxy herbicide, such as 2,4-D. Herbicides can drift in from long distances and tomato is a very sensitive plant.

Drift is the most typical way the injury occurs. It's also possible for compost, straw, and manure to become contaminated. You can perform a bioasay on your growing media to rule out this possibility:
Unfortunately, your plants will probably not grow out of the problem and produce a good crop. Try to find replacement plants at a garden center.

The small white spots on the leaves in the third photo are caused by some type of sucking insect pest- spider mites, aphids, thrips, etc. No treatment is necessary. jt

Thank you so much for your input. Our plants are producing fruit that isn't ripening, so we are going to throw them away.

Do we also need to throw away the pots (both plastic and ceramic) and root pouches that the plants are in? See images for examples of root pouches.


It is not necessary to throw out the pots and the root pouches. You can re-use them.