curly leaves on tomatoes

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Ok, so the top half growth of my tomatoes has curly, frilly leaves. I've read what TAMU says about it, and the Broad Mites or yellow leaf curl virus seem to be the only things that fit.

They want you to send samples off to be tested before trying a remedy. I really don't want to wait that long to get started on it.

Can anyone tell from these pics what it is?

Thumbnail by sybram Thumbnail by sybram
Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Definitely not good. Not sure what it is, though. I'd get some replacement transplants and start over.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)


Not good is right, Steph. Thing is, I bought these tomatoes for my son and me. His maters are fine. So what caused it? The only thing I did differently this year is use some dark mulch that a guy mistakenly brought me. I saw nothing wrong with it, but I only use the red hardwood mulch on my flower beds, so I said that's ok, I'll just use it on my garden. It came from Thelin's where I get the red mulch, too.

I have a microscope and can't see anything with legs or anything that looks like the eggs they describe if it's broad mites. On the other hand, nothing is turning yellow, either. My point is if it's something in the soil or mulch, then the next tomatoes would get it, too. Right? What would you do?

This message was edited May 2, 2015 8:28 PM

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I would move the mulch and try to use cedar mulch or leaves. Spray it with some good organic fertilizer like liquid molasses, fish emulsion, and compost tea, and maybe even sprinkle a handful of Epsom Salt around the base. You could even get some granular tomato food and sprinkle around it and see if that helps it.

Have you sprayed any insecticide around lately? Wondering if maybe it's from that.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Is there a chance they could have got hit by herbicide? Tomato plants are very sensitive to herbicide drift. Do you have a local nursery you could take a sample to?

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

The herbicide drift was one of the things mentioned, but I haven't used anything on the garden or lawn, so we ruled that out. The only thing I've sprayed is Bayer Advanced Disease Control to control the fungus we get on the Indian Hawthorn, and that's quite far from the garden.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)



BTW, I also have squash planted in this garden--just two things--tomatoes and squash. All the squash looks fine.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Could a neighbor have sprayed herbicide?

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

You might want to post in the tomato forum there are some experts there. It looks familiar but I dont know what it is. Do you have any crop fields near you?

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I don't think it could be herbicide drift. We're in the country and not close to anybody.


I think I will try the tomato forum. Probably have to just scrap them, but I'm wondering how could I get rid of the mites or virus which would probably be in the soil. Oh, pooh!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Neem oil works great on mites and some viruses are spread by insects, so this might be a one time thing. I was wondering if someone could have sprayed their pasture with a broad leaf herbicide?

I would really like to know what it is too.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, I don't think so. My garden area is protected on two sides by very tall trees, and the other sides face our house and only our pasture, which have not been sprayed. We will spray pasture in June to get rid of the sneeze weed, but it has never bothered anything in the past. It's Chaparel (sp?).

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

This thread says it's caused by whiteflies, but I've had those on my hibiscus before, and I know what they look like. Actually, I haven't seen any pests on my tomatoes, and I've checked them regularly. When I first started noticing the curly thing, I thought, "oh, it must be a characteristic of this type of tomato." DUH!

http://westernfarmpress.com/controlling-tomato-yellow-leaf-curl-virus

I don't recognize any of those products it recommends to use, plus, no leaves have dropped or turned yellow. I saw just a little brown around the edge of one or two leaves.


This message was edited May 4, 2015 10:02 AM

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Hopefully you will get more help on the Tomato forum. I'm stumped.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Check roots, brown as in fertilizer burn, or dry dead leaf? Especially ck roots for nematodes if you yank it out, as well as maybe air around the roots..

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)


Kitt, the only fertilizer for the first 4 weeks was original corn gluten I planted them with. Then I sprinkled on Osmocote just recently. No dry dead leaves.

I'll check the roots tomorrow. I'm pulling them out--tired of messing with it.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

LOL, the tomato forum must be stumped, too. My post had 13 views, but no replies. hmmmmm.

Guess I'll be BUYING (grrr) my maters at Wally World this year.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)



Thought of one more thing that's a little different about my garden this year. It's a raised bed, and three years ago when I made it, I bought around 25-30 bags of Lowe's cheapest top soil to finish it out. Had about 8-10 I didn't use, so they sat stacked up there until they got rained on over and over, which made them so heavy and hard I couldn't lift them. Early this year I had a guy out here helping with farm/gardening chores, and he emptied those into the garden, raking it pretty even. Later, I tilled it in. I had already put my home made compost on, plus the corn gluten. I use the corn gluten as a preemergent, early fertilizer and fungicide, although I know it's suppose to stay on top.

Just wondering if any of this could have made a difference.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I don't know.....can you send some the plant to A&M and have it tested? It looks so familiar.

Fort Worth, TX

Mine turned out to be from inadequate and uneven soil moisture. I thought I had all these tomato diseases in one bed and it turned out to be the grade and moisture not penetrating because when I moved some plants (initially to trash then replanted elsewhere) they did just fine.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)



Gypsi, I dont think that could be my problem. My soil is soooo amended (a real word?) I add lots of compost every year and till it fall and spring, so everything is evenly distributed. It waters evenly, and mulch helps hold the moisture in. It has produced very well until this thing.

Lisac, I wish I would do that, but I probably won't. Just discouraged and tired of thinking about it, although I do really need to know how to fix the problem for the future. So much else to do. So little time. So old. So much less staying power. ;())

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

I didnt mean leaves in the bed, i meant the leaves on the plant, the old soil may just mean too much peat if it were rock hard, that would be uptake of moisture and nutrients and crimped toes.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

No dead leaves, and I saw just one plant with a couple of leaves on them that had a slight yellow tinge, but no others. I'm sending off my sample to TAMU this afternoon. Already got the forms filled out.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Good for you. Please post the results.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)


Just mailed out a curly tomato plant..Any bets on what the testing shows? TAMU says:

There are five primary reasons that tomato
leaves twist or curl:
Wind damage
Herbicide drift
Herbicide residue
Broad mite
Tomato viruses

I think I've ruled out the first three (but who knows?).

We couldn't see any mites under the microscope.

The viruses cause turning yellow, brown spots, dropped fruit, dropped blooms and leaves. My 18 plants showed none of that.

Fort Worth, TX

We have had a bit of wind

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

That happened to 18 plants! Wow! My bet goes to something in the soil. Don't know how a pre emergent effects plants if it's been tilled in?

Fort Worth, TX

that is a good question Lisa. All corn gluten got me was a bumper crop of fire ants the year I used it.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Gypsi, my garden spot is protected by trees on two sides, so we really don't get wind damage.

Generally, I put the corn gluten on top and then just put mulch over it. I know it's suppose to stay on top, but there were several circumstances involved (not having my tiller when I needed it, etc.), so that's just how it turned out this year. We'll see what they say. I guess it could have something to do with that.

Yeqh, lisac, I think it's in the soil, too.

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