Leaves at the very top of tomato plants curled and stunted

Harwinton, CT

My husband has a row of a variety of tomatos and each one has the same problem with the very top new growth curled up and stunted. Can anyone identify the problem?

Thumbnail by playinindirt
Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Wow! That's depressing! Sure are some beautiful flowers beneath that, though. Has anyone been spraying weed killer nearby that might have blown over to the tops of your plants?

How tall are the plants?

And where is Harwinton?

Harwinton, CT

No, no weed killer used in the area and the plants are about 30" now.

Harwinton is just east of Litchfield and south of Torrington, in the northwest hills.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Are those webs on the right side leaves? I'd like to see closer photos. I was wondering if you have spider mites. Am going to be out of internet pocket in a few days.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Beautiful area! I tried to get up to White Flower Farms (?), and least once a year. Then it's off to Talbot's and that wonderful litle restaurant up the street with the wonderful pate! Didn't make it this Spring, doggone it...

Harwinton, CT

No, they're not webs. That's a grayish coloring to the curled leaves.

Harwinton, CT

Yes, it's a lovely area but being high up we get colder and more ice/snow in the winter, which I really don't mind as I love winter time (skied most of my adult life.) I've learned not to plant anything outdoors until May 25, last frost date.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Funny... I'm in Lake Carmel NY, on the "snow belt". We manage to get more snow and colder temps than the surronding 6B zone, but I , too, love it! The garden is a blessing in the late Spring, Summer, and early, Fall, but nothing - no where can compare with Autumn in the NE!!! And winter is too beautiful to get upset about. I lived in Florida for alot of years, but I say...BRING ON THE SEASONS!

Greeley, CO(Zone 5b)

I have one that is doing that too, I wish I knew what it was and how to fix it.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

For me, that look was from herbicide drift, as Sequee suggests. I didn't spray, but the county did. They were attempting to control (HAH!) the kudzu on the swales.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I've got the curling going on, but we decided on another thread that mine was due to a wet spring with good growing conditions for the plants--which caused them to outgrow the root system. Now that it is extremely hot and humid the roots have slowed down and not caught up supplying the rest of the plant. Mine are still setting fuit so I will just live with it. There is a sticky at the top of the forum with links to excellent info on leaf curl! There are several reasons for this curl and each is addressed in the links. Yeah Dave's for keeping track of all of that info!

I thought it was only me with this leaf curl. I must have done something to cause this. But I've been driving to and from work and slowing down to look at other's gardens (much to the dismay of the folks behind me--sorry!). I've noticed that everyone seems to be suffering from tomato leaf curl in my immediate area this summer. I'm sure some of it is due to herbicide drift (we are out in a very rural area and the counties' workers have been out working on the ditches), or early blight, or anything else mentioned in the links. I think in our area it may mostly be due to the weather conditions.

Sequee, I lived in FL for ten years. I really missed the leave changing. Loved the fun plants you could grow down there, but my eyes just got so tired of all that green in the fall and winter.

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

That is exactly the same problem I have on most of my tomatoes- some hd to be replaced, and some look like they will be OK- The determinate ones will not grow any more.Indet. are doing better. Definitely not spider mites.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

If there is a gray growth I'm thinking mold/fungus but I'm no expert. Here is a link but you can always contact your local extension agent and email them the picture.
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/tomatoproblemsolver/

Harwinton, CT

Now it has spread up to my upper garden to my tomatoes. No, it cannot be herbicide drift because our property is in the woods and far from the road and there are no other houses close by. I went down to look at my husbands tomatos (we have a little competition going on here) and the wilting has spread further down on his plants. AND HEAR THIS. . . .on last night's news they said the tomato blight that hit us last year is starting again due to people using seeds from last years plants and also by tossing their sick plants onto their compost heaps. I just went out and sprayed everything with an all purpose fungicide.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

That's sure not what any of us wanted to hear. I wondered about the seeds passing it to the next generation. I had read it wasn't possible but it makes sense to me. Good Luck!

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

I, too, have heard that the seeds cannot pass along the LB because it needs living tissue to survive.

The main reason they are thinking that it might be present again is from the potatoes. The spores can stay alive through the living roots that have been left behind in the ground, and let's face it...If you've ever grown potatoes, you KNOW there's no way to get up EVERYTHING from the ground.

Our salvation may come with these hot temps, though. If the weather continues to be hot and not rainy, the blight will not take hold.

I personally think that many people are panicking because of last year. They "see the signs" and see LB, when it's really some form of EB.

And, now, let us pray!

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Are these blights prevalent in the NW? I had read of it in the East last year. This is getting scary. All my plants were from new seeds I got through reputable seed companies, so that's not a possibility. Also, none of my leaves have any grey- very green, just curled. Guess I need to go take photos- be back soon-

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

They say LB is east of the Mississippi, but I'm sure you have some kind of blight too.
Jo-sometimes the leaves just curl and you never completely know why. Terri's explanation does sounds very likely considering the crazy weather in TX.

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

I jus went out and took these photos- this is an Early Girl

This message was edited Jun 22, 2010 2:49 PM

Thumbnail by JoParrott
Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

This is Oregon Spring

Thumbnail by JoParrott
Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Jo-have you added a source of nitrogen recently. Mine did that last year when I added too much horse poop to some I had in containers. They did outgrow it.

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Last, Yellow Cherry- I have several more with the problem, but it wouldn't help any to show them-

Thumbnail by JoParrott
Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Now, that could be- I use horse doo a lot- but it's well composted-

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

So was this, tomatoes don't need a lot of N. but usually high N will slow down blooming and it doesn't look like you are having that problem.
Have the temps gotten warmer recently?

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Summer has NOT arrived in the NW yet! We have had cold, rainy, windy weather forever!Today is 82, and the rest of the week is supposed to get warmer- I sure hope so. I just put cucumber plants in yesterday for the 3rd time! They just kept rotting-

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

We have just the opposite problem. Hot and humid but I'm not sure if I would recognize a rain drop if it hit me.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

We had a nice rain last even and through the night. Much appreciated and enjoyed.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

The interesting thing about the leaf curl is that, in my case, the tomato horn worms are leaving those plants alone. There may be more that one reason for that. I've noticed that the potato leafed tomatoes are only showing mild if any symtoms of the curl, but the horn worms are giving those more attention. Perhaps the potato leaf tomato plants are more attractive in some way to the THW's?

I think I'm going to have to break down and spray for the worms. I'm working long hours right now and just can't seem to keep up with those little devils once I get home with hand picking alone. I know the girls (my hens) will be dissapointed as they look forward to the nightly treats, but there you go. And I know the blue birds and mocking birds have been doing their own hand picking because I see them diving in and out of the rows of tomatoes. I have some insecticidal soap to use. Does anyone know if this will harm the birds if they eat a worm affected by the soap? I've not sprayed for anything really in years so I'm really behind the curve in my knowledge of the sprays. The label says no, but those labels can often be wrong.

Also, despite the leaf curl, the plants are still producing. I've got a number of larger, green tomatoes waiting to rippen. And I've been harvesting many smaller-than-normal-but-still-good-tasting tomatoes. So if I can just get ahead of the THW's I think I will be OK. There's really not much we can do about the weather. We've not had rain in weeks, and the one rain storm we had was a frog strangler. If it weren't for that storm I think we would be in an official drought in out area. So the soaker hoses are getting a workout.

On a brighter note the watermelons are coming on and the zucchini is zuc'ing!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Terri-What types are you growing? I'm always looking for tomatoes that people have had good luck with in this crazy TX environment.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, I kind of went crazy because I've not had much luck with tomatoes in the past three years. I just started picking any variety that looked like it would grow in the hot and humid summers we have. Right now Kellogg's Breakfast and Charlie Chaplin are looking pretty good. Charlie Chaplin was a freebie so that just makes it look that much better. Of the determinates, 1st Pick and Extreme Bush--both sent by twiggybuds (thanks again!)--are producing well although both have the leaf curl we have been discussing. I can't really say that anything in particular is doing outstanding, but if any of the larger greenies ripen and can finally be picked, then I may change my mind. I have also noticed that the plants I put out earliest are the ones with the most leaf curl. So I am thinking that--in my case only--the weather this spring has contributed to this.

The potato leafed varieties have been slow to take off, but they are coming on.

I will have to go home and look as I have some Italian tomatoes that are coming on too, but I can't remember the names right off the top of my head. I'm not really going to say which are doing awful for me now as those might do very well next year =~'. (The Cub's fan factor strikes again!)

I got some seed for this fall of Celebration F1. I know it is a hybrid, but I don't really wory about that if it produces well in this weather. I got it late as an after thought with some watermelon seeds from Willhite's. I figure they grow and sell in Texas so they might know something. Taste is the thing, though, isn't it?

I can't really remember much of your list from this spring, 1lisac. I remember thinking that we had a few of the same varieties, though. Have you got any that are really impressing you so far?

I grew all of my tomatoes from seed. All came from reputable sources (Territorial, Seeds from Italy, Marianna's, Cherrygal.com and gifts) so I'm being very unscientific when I say that I don't think my leaf curl situation was inherited through the seeds.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Terri- Thai Pink Egg is the one that has put on numerous fruit that have ripened. I have a lot of fruit set but they haven't ripened. They'll probably wait until I go out of town around the 4th! This blight thing just won't stop either, I found a small lesion on a plant that I just put in a couple weeks ago. I have never had this problem before, and I'm spraying with daconil. I have noticed some leaves on the top of some of the plants that have lesions too, but then the side shoot looks great. If it was cooler I would go out there and pull off any leaves with signs of disease then I could really tell if it was spreading, but today is the hottest day yet 97* so it will have to wait. I will let you know as the season progresses.
Lisa

Central Valley, CA(Zone 9a)

That is definately caused by herbicide drift. The compost I put in my bed was contaminated with either 2,4-D or Clopyralid. My tomato plants look exactly like yours. The leaves will be smaller, intially tightly curled and grow out over time and the fruit will be elongated. The branches, flower and flower clusters may also curl.

If it is a one time contamination from drift or compost, don't panic. It won't cause any serious problems other than curled leaves and shorter plants. Mine seem to be growing out of it. Your's may too.

Harwinton, CT

JoParrott. . . The top new growth coming in on mine looks more like the new young fern fronds in early spring. . .tightly curled. So far, the plants are holding their own and I know for a fact, because the way our gardens are situated, that there was absolutely no herbicide drift that could have caused it. Two of my determinate plants were got so bad I had to pull them out and destroy them.

Central Valley, CA(Zone 9a)

Herbicides typically come from other sources such as manure, straw mulch or compost than a neighbor's yard. Sometimes, your water supply can also be contaminated. This is a big problem for many growers that use OM amendments. I won't bother to write out the reason or site sources. Just google it or use the DG search. There are several articles on this topic.

Delhi, LA

If you were in Louisiana, I'd say it was damage caused by 2x4xD drifting. I don't know if farmers up there use it or not. It will drift for miles. Everyone in our country got a dose of it last year and tomatoes were the only thing effected. We have no idea where it came from because there is a cut off date on using it. Someone was spraying it illigally.

camp verde, AZ(Zone 8a)

your leaf curl looks alot like 24,d damage. on a hot windy or breezy day 24,d can drift for miles.

Delhi, LA

Don't pull the tomatoes. In a few days they will put on second growth and start blooming. The tomatoes won't be real large but they will make a bunch of them. 2-4-D is a growth hormone. I made a ton of them last year after the initial damage. Any tomatoes that are set below the damage won't be hurt. They will grow and mature as always. You will have a section where the damage is that will not produce.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

That is so interesting to learn, Jim41 and david47! Thank you for posting that info. I'm not really all that far from LA so you've given me another useful bit of info to file away for future ref! Do you know what crops this 24,D--or whatever it is called--is used on?

Delhi, LA

It is used pre-plant to kill down woody type weeds. In pine timber they use it to kill off hardwood saplings. Some derivitives of it are used to spray under soybeans to kill weeds. The ones used under beans aren't the ones that give you trouble. If you buy a weed killer for weeds in your lawn you are using sometype of it.

Cut off date for airplane application is in March. None is supposed to be sprayed after the first of April. The other forms I mentioned are used any time.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Ahhh, and we do have pine plantations in our area. That is really good information for me! Thank you.

I still think my main leaf curl problem is weather related, but I will hold this info in reserve as a second possiblility.

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.
BACK TO TOP