Advise Please on Disease

Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

This is a Paul Robeson about 5 foot tall.
It started wilting from the top down several days ago, the leaves are not turning yellow just wilting. None of my other plans are showing this.
Is it bacterial wilt?
I'm going to pull it and throw it away.


This message was edited Jul 17, 2011 1:01 PM

Thumbnail by paulgrow
Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Rapid wilting with green leaves suggets Bacterial Wilt to me as well.

I think you know the way you go about Dxing it by cutting an affected stem, placing it in a glass of water and looking for the milky streaming of the bacteria.

No way back from this systemic disease so be sure to take several stem cuttings including near the base before you pull it and dispose of it.


Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

I have the same thing going on with one of my JTD's. I will test it when I get home. "Systemic Disease" contagious???

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

J, almost all systemic diseases I know of, meaning they can infect and can destroy ALL parts of a plant, as opposed to just foliage diseases, are soil borne. Examples would be Fusarium, Verticillium, and so many more.

Where we live, meaning you and me, we don't have problems with soilborne diseases except a plant here or there from time to time.

Late Blight ( P. infestans) is also a systemic disease although it initially infects the leaves, but then goes on to infect all areas of a plant.

Carolyn, where yet more rain just came through. The radar looked horrendous but we escaped the worse and at least the temps dropped, temporarily. Sigh

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Excuse me for being dense, but are you suggesting that's probably NOT what I've got going on? I have to admit, I seem to have a little bit of everything this year! The wilty sections are one; then there's the yellowing thats starting midway on the plants, on one entire half of the stem; then there's the stems where the leaves start to dry, then the stem falls off.

On the upside, I have about 50 nice sized Delicious tomatoes on the vine, quite a few of which are beginning to blush, and my first German Giant has a major blush going-on!

Geez, again with the rain! No, I'm not really objecting to the rain, it's the violent storms that seem to accompany them. SO much damage and the PekeBoo darn near has a heart attack with each rip of thunder. Anyone ever hear of moderation?

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

J, I was only answering your comment in your post above mine when you said somethinhg like Systemic, contagious?.

I must have missed where you described the specific problems your plants are having so was not referring to those problems b'c I clearly missed reading about them.


Omaha, NE(Zone 5b)

I seem to have the same thing going on with 2 of 21 plants. One is Giant Belgium, 6+ feet tall, next to (unaffected) Sylvan Gaume on one side and (unaffected) Creole on the other. On the end of the row, it's a Livingston's Beauty, next to another of the same which seems just fine.

I'll try the diagnostic and report back.

Omaha, NE(Zone 5b)

Okay, here's a photo of the Giant Belgium.

Thumbnail by RussMartin4154
Omaha, NE(Zone 5b)

I cut two stems.

They are hollow (see photo). I didn't see the discharge when put in water--perhaps I didn't wait long enough.

Thumbnail by RussMartin4154
Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

With sudden wilting of green plants and especially if you're finding hollow stems, the problem might be Stalk Borers.

I had a real problem with those two years ago in several tomato plants. I've posted about it here, but haven't found anyone else (until now, maybe) who's had lost or damaged tomato plants due to Stalk Borers.

If they're fairly uncommon, that's good. You don't want 'em.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Good idea Ozark, but we don't have tomato stalk borer problems up here in the tundra as I know some of you in the south have.


Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

Looks like Bacterial Wilt.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Russ, mine looks exactly like yours. First it was the J.T.D., then it took out an Evan's Purple Pear, and now I'm seeing signs on a couple of others. Just hoping I can get some tomatoes harvested before this takes over. The tomatoes in my other gardens are doing great.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

If the stems are hollow could it stll be Bacterial Wilt? I've had few plants, over the years that have had hollow stems but here it was probably from Stalk Borers.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

According to the link Ozark posted Stalk Borers are found E. of the Rockies in Canada and the US. The link talks about them being in Penn. So why wouldn't the be in NY too. Just wondering. That hollow stem has got me thinking.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

1lisac - When I had trouble with stalk borers, I was actually able to find the things. That is, I'd go to the garden and find half of a perfectly healthy tomato plant suddenly wilted - I'd cut that branch off with my pocket knife and find that the stem was hollow.

Looking closely at the wilted branch I'd even be able to find the entry hole where the borer went in. On my plants, they'd bore into a branch then travel down the middle of the stem toward the roots - and by splitting that hollow branch with my knife I'd get down to the borer, pull it out, and kill it. I remember cutting off half a good plant that way, then I melted a granddaughter's green Crayola and sealed the wound with wax, which worked just fine. Hmmm - wonder if she ever missed that crayon. lol

I've gotta say, though, that my stalk borer attack happened in May or early June when the things hatched out - it seems like we ought to be too late in the year for stalk borers now.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Maybe up north they arrive later? This weather is so crazy I think even the bugs are confused.

I like your method for sealing the wound and using green too. I wonder if a hot glue gun would work.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Lisa, I started helping out at the old farm when I was abut 5 and have grown tomatoes for many decades and when I lived an hour south of here had many commercial friends and have never seen any damage from tomato stalk borers my whole tomato life. Never even heard of them until I started posting online.

There's lots of disease and pest problems some of you folks in the south have that we don't have up here, all the insect transmitted Gemini virus ones such as TSWV, and others aren't up here. No Buckeye Rot, little Bacterial Wilt, only Fusarium if it was imported in and a winter was too mild to kill it, no Root Knot Nematodes, no fruit worms,etc.

What we do have is a shorter season so two crops outside is not possible, although we can grow late season varieties in a year when the first killing frost is late.

There are pluses and minuses for everyone depending on where they live and garden,


Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

"There's lots of disease and pest problems some of you folks in the south have that we don't have up here"

Yep - even though it hit -7 below here last year, our winters are much milder than yours and our growing season is longer, so we have a different set of pests.

I brought the stalk borer problem on myself - they're easy to avoid. Having rabbits all over the place (and not wanting to trap or shoot them), I built a wire fence with a 2" x 4" mesh all around my vegetable garden. Then I found the smaller bunnies could go right through the mesh. Next step, I fastened chicken wire all around the bottom of the wire fence and that kept the rabbits out.

It also made a double layer of wire, and made it impossible to weed-whack tall grass growing up between the layers. That one year, I allowed some 2' tall stalks of dead grass to stand all winter in that fence, very close to where I later planted tomatoes - and tall grass is where the stalk borer moth lays its' eggs. The things only crawl a few feet after they hatch out - and there were my tomato plants! Well, I didn't know.

Lowe's sells a great propane torch for about $40, and now I burn any dead grass out of that fence row every winter. Fried stalk borer eggs, I assume - and the END of that problem!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks Carolyn and Ozark. I was just wondering after I read the link. So, if it isnt Stalk Borers, how come the stems are hollow? Just wondering too hot to do much else. Lol

BTW-My Stupice tomato plant is still setting fruit in this extreme heat.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Shoe, I can't find the thread now but someone was talking about anthracnose problems, I think in GA and I think you said something about hot water treatment and then mentioned my name, or was it another message site entirely? LOL

Anyway, anthracnose is fungal, is spread via wind and rain, so even regular fermentation that might remove pathogens from the outer seed coat can't stop new infections.

Hot water treatment is used by commercial farmers, well let's say they buy hot water treated seed, to help inactive bacterial pathogens, not all but some, that are in the endosperm of the seed where certain viruses also reside.

I get anthracnost on my fruits only when the temps start dropping in early Fall and the nights turn colder.

Commercial farmers keep up their spraying of Daconil so that the fruits aren't blemished with anthracnose lesions.


Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Carolyn. I mentioned anthracnose the other day in a thread and was wondering if it carried over in seed. I've never done the hot water treatment but thought it was recommended for anthracnose.

Good to know Daconil helps. I see more and more problems each year, depending on weather. I thought the fruit spots/lesions might be stink bug bites but there is no white "corky" hard spot like stink bugs create. Oh well, I just pick the best looking fruits for seed saving anyway (many of them yours!).

Coffee is gone. Time to get back out before our 99 hits this afternoon.

Stay cool, All!

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