Tomato & Eggplant problem
Several of my tomato plants & 4 eggplants next to them are showing mottled yellowing leaves which then die. New growth starts out healthy green, but whatever’s troubling them is spreading to upper leavesNo visible insects or webs under the leaves. What’s wrong, and how can I save them?
Montgomery County Maryland
Hi- the symptoms are consistent with spider mite injury. They are very small and difficult to see with the unaided eye. Try looking at leaf undersides with a magnifier or hand lens. Look closely to see signs of this pest- live adult mites, mite eggs, cast skins, fecal specks.
There are two species that commonly feed on tomato, eggplant, and other garden plants when weather gets hot. Their piercing-sucking mouthparts cause those tiny white/ten spots (stipples) on leaf surfaces.
More information on this pest and how to manage it:
Spraying insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or other miticides when foliar injury is severe could lead to leaf burn and further stress your plants. This is especially true during hot weather. Spraying foliage with water discourages mite activity. Do this in the morning and afternoon to give plants a chance to dry before nightfall (so as not to encourage disease problems).