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Beginner Vegetables: Tomato leaves turning yellow

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Forum: Beginner VegetablesReplies: 23, Views: 321
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aHtm1324
Athens
Greece

May 21, 2012
8:50 AM

Post #9131865

Hi,

one of the tomato plants I have in pots started suddenly to turn yellow. What could be the cause?

Moreover, I found that another one, planted in the garden, was rotten at the base. I could not identify the disease also.

Thanks for the help!

George

Thumbnail by aHtm1324   Thumbnail by aHtm1324
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behillman
Plantersville, TX
(Zone 9a)

May 24, 2012
11:05 AM

Post #9136695

It could be a number of problems or it could be just normal. The bottom leaves sometimes turn yellow & fall off by mother nature. If the whole plant dies, just plant another one in its place.
tarheel2az
Tonto Basin, AZ

May 25, 2012
9:20 AM

Post #9138060

Doesn't appear alarming to me. Soil that's too wet for too long can lead to yellowing.
aHtm1324
Athens
Greece

May 25, 2012
3:34 PM

Post #9138561

Thanks for the replies. I tend to get overly anxious about my tomato plants...

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 27, 2012
11:50 AM

Post #9140592

I assume you have fertilized them? Too much water can cause all types of problems, including rotting and yellow leaves.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 27, 2012
2:35 PM

Post #9140754

Does anbody have a reponse for the one that is rotten at the base? Ive had that happen, as well. It was definitely not due to, too much rain. Yellowing leaves are one thing but the rotting stem is something else.
Doug9345
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

May 27, 2012
2:41 PM

Post #9140757

I don't know what it is, but I'd bury the top back in the ground pull some leaves off and see how it did.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 29, 2012
7:11 AM

Post #9142977

Lisa - Phytophthora maybe?

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74133.html

[quote]Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and other vegetable crops can also be affected by Phytophthora rot.[/quote]
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2012
5:44 PM

Post #9143995

It could be but the leaves and fruit were affected too so I don't know. I'll have to check back when I have the time. Thanks

jmc1987

jmc1987
Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

May 30, 2012
11:09 AM

Post #9144942

Ive been having this same problem with one of my tomato plants too, i grow them in 5 Gallon containers. The one that is having this problem also has little bees flying around the soil inside the container, i am also growing purple potatoes inside a giant 10 gallon sized container, and unfortunately same thing, the bees all around the soil, and the leaves turning yellow, i suspect there is something that the bees are doing to these plants, because all of my other tomatoes that do NOT have the bees around them are big and happy!

jmc1987

jmc1987
Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

May 30, 2012
11:14 AM

Post #9144949

i also forgot to add that the leaves not only yellow, but they just plain turn brown and crunchy (and i am not letting the soil get too dry). I am using a fish based foliage feed method fertilizer

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

May 31, 2012
9:14 AM

Post #9146134

jmc1987 - are you sure they are bees and not fungus gnats?

If your soil is wet, the bees may be extracting water from the soil if there is very little to be had elsewhere. Bees will in NO WAY harm any plant, they are beneficial insects. (I used to keep honeybees when I was younger)
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 31, 2012
12:03 PM

Post #9146344

Brown and Crunchy makes me think Spider Mites. Do you see any webbing? You don't have to see webbing for it to be Spider Mites but that would be a dead give away.

I would also bet on fungus gnats, if they are coming from the soil, but they are much smaller then bees.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

June 1, 2012
8:28 AM

Post #9147579

jmc1987 - how much nitrogen is in your fish based fertilizer? Too much nitrogen will make the ends of leaves turn "crispy".

jmc1987

jmc1987
Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

June 3, 2012
2:07 PM

Post #9150487

Honeybee, the nitrogen according to the bottle makes up 6% of it, those 3 plants are the only ones that seem to be suffering, the other ones are growing like mad, more so with this fertilizer that i am using, i would say that with the exception of those 3 that i am having problems with, that i have seem the best performance so far, as far as growth goes.

I am sure they are bees because i stuck my finger in the soil to test how moist and one of them nailed me right on the side of it. But like you say, may be scavenging water. Still a strange coincidence that they were only hanging around the soil of the plants that had this problem though.

Suppose i should go through the typical process of mite treatment via soapy water

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

June 4, 2012
6:38 AM

Post #9151355

jmc1987 - maybe they are wasps. Some wasps build their nest in the ground. Although wasps are beneficial insects, they can be a pest when they nest too near for comfort ^_^

jmc1987

jmc1987
Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

June 4, 2012
2:58 PM

Post #9152122

I hear you on that one, once i was on the back deck, one had just started to build a nest under the sheltered part, too small to really notice unless you really look for it. Well me being as tall as i am, my head must have been to close, so it dived in and nailed me right on the back of the neck!

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 6, 2012
6:39 PM

Post #9155164

Here's a few "try this and see what happens" ideas.

If you lift each pot just before you plan to water it, are the rotting ones heavier than the healthy pots?

That would suggest to me that those pots are retaining more water, perhaps keeping the roots from getting as much air as they need. Roots in the lower part of the pot will drown and die if water completely displaces the air for some short period of time (an hour? Less?)

Are they getting more water than other pots, or less sun and wind?

Try just witholding water until you see some wilt occuring. Then lift the pot again. If it is still heavy, the roots probably never reached the bottom of the pot due to drowning.


Is the soil mix in the sad pots different from the happy pots?
Since Al ("Tapla") turned me on to pine bark chunks and shreds, I sing their praises as a way of assuring good drainage and aeration. Bark and coarse grit in pots!

Are the drain holes plugged or smaller than average?
You might need holes on the sides as well as under the pot: "under" holes might get plugged without your seeing.
Can you get a finger into a hole, to sdee if the soil mix is soggy deep down?

If you DO have good fast drainage, AND you're sure roots are not drowning, AND you think maybe you have too much nitrogen, you might try flushing the unhappy pots with water. To remove some soluble nitrogen. (Avoid real cold water, sun-warmed is gentler on sick roots). Or, just withold all fertilizer from those pots until the brown crunchies (necrosis) go away.

But I thought that fish emulsion could not really BURN roots.


jmc1987

jmc1987
Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

June 8, 2012
1:35 PM

Post #9157215

thanks for all of the great advice, i have noticed that one of them is shooting up a new healthy stalk from its root base since i did the spider mite treatment.

I will definitely look into all that was mentioned. Truthfully i am just using potting soil in my containers, and i never knew about the pine bark thing until now

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 8, 2012
1:57 PM

Post #9157259

In theory, you would think that potting soil would be fast draining, but the cheap stuff I used to buy never was.

It was heavy! Even potting mix (as opposed to potting soil) drained too slowly for my over-watering tendencies.

I like a lot of bark shreds and c hunks, and coarse grit. Others use perlite.

However, if they perked up after the spider mite treament, drainage was not your problem.

P.S. One upside of heavy, water-holding potting mix is that it WILL hold huge amounts of water. It can go longer between waterings without the plants wilting. With the same size pot but faster-draining mix, you will have to water more often.

If at the end of the season, the lowest part of the soil had lots fewer roots than the upper half, it probably wished it had had faster-draining mix, meaning "more air to the roots".
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

June 8, 2012
11:10 PM

Post #9157774

What did you use for the mites? Just wondering and I'm glad they look better.

jmc1987

jmc1987
Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

June 9, 2012
5:06 PM

Post #9158518

i have always been told to put a few drops of liquid soap (be sure its NOT the "anti bacterial" kind) into a spray bottle of water, and hit the under sides of the leaves with a good misting of it (where the spider mites like to hang out)

jmc1987

jmc1987
Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

June 10, 2012
2:30 PM

Post #9159498

I managed to catch one of the little buggers today without getting stung, LOL. Have it in a glass jar with some water sprayed on the inside so he cant get away so easily. These guys are what have been swarming around the soil of my plants that are so sad.

Thumbnail by jmc1987   Thumbnail by jmc1987
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Garden_Sass
Central, TX
(Zone 8b)

June 11, 2012
5:57 AM

Post #9160213

[quote="aHtm1324"]Hi,

one of the tomato plants I have in pots started suddenly to turn yellow. What could be the cause?

Moreover, I found that another one, planted in the garden, was rotten at the base. I could not identify the disease also.

Thanks for the help!

George[/quote]

Some important points:
Container size - tomatoes need lots of space for roots and to allow for drainage - 10 to 15 gallon pot for large fruited
indeterminate varieties and 5+ gallon for small patio varieties. Drill more drainage holes if necessary.
Soil mix - free draining potting soil mixed with a quality compost and a little organic fertilizer.
Water - don't allow the tomato to swing from too wet to too dry - inconsistent watering results in nutrient uptake problems. Too
much nitrogen though produces a lush plant and few fruit.

I know we're a world away and probably in very different climates however plants are plants. You might gleam a few pointers from this Texas A&M University publication:

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/guides/e-545_vegetable_gardening_containers.pdf

Happy Gardening!

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