two tomato plants: one good, one bad

Chino Valley, AZ

I planted tomato plants in an old horse trough with holes in the bottom. I filled it w aged horse manure, the tomatos did very well, but the water drained out quickly. Not one to leave success to continue, I "helped" them by putting a layer of rich dense soil on top and then a layer of hay. I watered, then we had several days of rain. The plants promply went into shock. They wilted, leaves turned yellow. One of them is now perking up, new shoots/blossoms. The other one continues to wilt and yellow.
Is this an over watering problem? Should I do anything?

Thumbnail by lindasch100
Hilliard, FL(Zone 8b)

Could be a root problem because of the excess water. Also could be a disease problem. If it is disease, you do not want it to spread to the other plant. Best to pull out the wilted plant and dispose of it.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

The hay was a bad thing, didn't need it in there, you had all the good soil you needed- tomatoes don't need nitrogen, hard to tell if it's a disease- did you try ramping the dirt around the leaves to see if it was solid underneath the plant? Mine wilt when voles burrow to them and they are left in the air down there, it IS better to pull than allow a disease to spread into your dirt and the other plant

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Are you saying you used the hay as mulch? I do that all the time. When I see one good next to one bad I pull the bad one and move forward. Could be many things but at least one is happy. The metal really holds the heat MAY not be the best for your area.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Post a close up of the leaves on the wilted tomato plant.

Central, TX(Zone 8b)

One looks worse then the other but I wouldn't say the better one is all that healthy. Unless you know the source of the hay and the producer doesn't use "persistent herbicides" to keep weeds out of the hay field, you very well could be looking at herbicide damage.

If you still have some of the hay you could soak it water for 24 hours then pour the water over a tender weed or green bean seedlings grown in a pot for test purposes; if the plants wilt within 24 hours you can be assured herbicide hay is the problem.

Herbicide hay (and animal manure from those eating the hay and having the herbicide pass through in their manure) residue can remain active in the soil up to 2-3 years causing all sorts of problems for vegetable gardeners.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

My first thought on the yellowing leaves is overwatering....from which it can recover if you withhold watering and let it dry out a bit...

On the plant(s) wilting like that, I'd say that galvanized trough is holding in enough heat in the soil bed to fry the roots...My suggestion would be to line the inside walls with some bubble wrap or styrofoam next time you plant something in it....

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

There is a disease that looks like wilting. The leaves roll on it. That is why I was suggesting that you post a photo. I'll try to find the link again and post it.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Leaf curl?

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Actually for insulation on the metal I'd go outside the tub and build a soil filled space, or brix to shade the metal more, still, that horse trough is galvanized (leaded) metal and tomatoes uptake those metals as well as animals. I do not like hay mulch, just me, but I'd use newspapers before hay. Water is probably an issue, it doesn't drain out that much, not like you would think- if you have proper dirt layers. Bagged compost would have been a better idea especially for tomatoes and veggies, I wish you luck with those plants!

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I think it was ecrane that posted a web site that had a lot of photos and descriptions of tomato issues. It had a picture that looked similar from a distance.

I did find this article that listed something called leafroll due to irregular watering. But the ecrane site had wilting also. I'll see if I can figure out what thread it was on.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Found the link.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Carolyn in the tomato site is our expert on that stuff, Shake head, she's awesome

Chino Valley, AZ

I looked at the UCDavis site. Oh-my. so many possible tomato problems. I looked at a number of diseases, not it. I think hot water tank and irregular watering is the problem I pulled out the bad one, good one still has rolled leaves, but is producing tomatos. Nest year I will line the tank with bubble wrap.
thank you so much for your ideas and comments.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Bubble wrap! Wouldn't have thot of that one! Awesome, watch it tho, may get brittle fast.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

If you don't trust your manuare mix and tub to drain well enough, pine bark nuggets are a cheap way to open up heavy soil, to let water out and air in. But then the tub will hold less water, and you'll have to water more often.

Next time the tub is empty, you might enlarge the hole or add more holes, perhaps a few inches up from goru8nd level, to let more air in.

You could thread some cotton flannel or a strip of towel or rolled cotton sheets through a bottom holoe, to encourage the bottom few inches to drain out and let air get to the roots.

If the holes on the bottom sit flat on the ground, make sure the soil they sit on drains well. If they do, that will wick the botom layer of your tub. If the bottom holes sit flat on something that does not drain well, they might as well have corks int hem, and you might have drowned roots after every heavy watering.

Or you might have a combination of problems: drowned roots stressed the plants and allowed some minor infection to take over and make them sicker than they would otherwise have been.

Just speculating.

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