Tomatoe curl/unknown cause

Asked June 11, 2020, 5:39 PM EDT

My tomatoe plants were planted in May. They were greenhouse stock (Bachman's). They were planted in brand new dirt purchased in May also, in raised beds. Several weeks ago, as they grew, new growth on the top appeared stunted, curled, mishapen/distorted, and "tight." I have been on the watch for bugs, but actually have not noticed any on the plants. Only my heirloom (pinapple, black krim) are showing damage and the others (lemon boy, etc.) are not. I do not use herbicide and have not noticed my neighbor use any but its possible. My tomato plants last year did the same, but they were in a different area in the yard and planted in the ground. I attributed that to cucumber beetles but haven't noticed any this year. I have attempted home made insecticidal soap and then pyrethrin to see if it would take care of bugs I couldn't see with the naked eye. There has maybe been slight improvment, or at least stability, but no eradication of the odd character of the plants. BTW the fuzz on the plants I attrubte to the cottonwood seeds common in my area. How can I tell the difference between mosaic and herbicide damange, or another cause? Is there a treatment, or should I pull them out? How can I mitigate my soil if it is a viral/bacterial disease so I can plant tomatoes again?

Anoka County Minnesota

1 Response

Thanks for the question.

The best indicator of herbicide damage is a rapid – often over a single day – of leaf browning and other damage to them. I don’t believe that herbicide exposure is the causative factor. I suspect that you may be looking at physiologic leaf roll, an abiotic condition that happens during hot dry conditions. Make sure your plants are well hydrated. Tomatoes need a lot of water. I would not suggest that you replace your tomato plants nor anything might be wrong with your soil Here is some more information on these and other things that can affect tomatoes:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/managing-tomato-mosaic-virus.htm

https://extension.umn.edu/plant-diseases/insects-and-diseases-tomatoes

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/files/2010/10/E-626-What-Makes-Tomato-Leaves-Twist-or-Curl.pdf

https://extension.umn.edu/plant-diseases/tomato-disorders

If your tomatoes do not show improvement within the next two weeks, especially if you increase your watering, please get back to us and we’ll revisit your situation.

Good Luck!!