Leaf curl and discoloration

Asked June 9, 2020, 6:40 AM EDT

Hi there, My the leaves on my tomato plants have begun curling, and I also noticed severe discoloration on my collards. My neighbor said he sprayed pesticide in garbage cans near the garden; could the curl and discoloration be the result of the pesticide drifting into the garden, or are there other factors I should be aware of? I am also wondering if the leaf curl on the tomatoes and the discoloration on the collards are two different issues. I have seen whiteflies on that particular collard plant, and there were lots of aphids on the tomatoes but they their numbers seem to have reduced. Thank you! Katie

District of Columbia County District of Columbia

1 Response

Hi - You mentioned that you had a lot of aphids on your tomato. We have been seeing a lot of upward curling on tomato plants caused by aphid feeding recently, so that is a possibility. Some curling and leaf distortion could be caused by a phenoxy herbicide like 2, 4-D. Ask your neighbor for more details about what they sprayed and monitor your plant for worsening symptoms. Refer to our page about herbicide damage on vegetables. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/herbicide-damage-vegetables

The collards leaf looks like it could have suffered whitefly feeding and maybe some weather stress. Clip off the leaf and keep the plant watered and fertilized. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/whiteflies-vegetables

Both of the plants look like they are in containers that are a little too small. Check our container gardening page for recommended container sizes. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/types-containers

Christa