Monday, May 11, 2009

Wilted tomato plant, pest or disease?

This years garden will be a challenge to fight off pest and disease.

To much rain is the cause of most of this years tomato problems.
Tomatoes like water on the roots not on the leaves.
Because leaves need to be able to evaporate water to pull more up from the roots

See the withered leaves are from to much water then not enough.

tomatoes need about 1 inch of water per week 3-5 gallons of water per plant. With the the summer heat , they need 11/2 to 2 inches per week. If the roots are shallow the plant will likely dry out faster (causing wilting). Watering once every 2-3 days is a good idea. By using a stick to check the depth 8-12 inches deep is about right where the water should reach.
Anoth cause of wilting is Fusarium and Verticillium Wilts
Is a soil borne fungus, the first symptom is wilting during the hottest part of the day, along with lots of yellow leaves. There is no cure for this .

So this was not the reason for this one plant to wilt.
hot, humid weather could have done this too. As the plant has now recovered.
This plant is a diffrent story
With all the rain I think I may have early blight,
The leaves are turning yellow. Spots and holes are on some leaves.
This is both pest and disease caused by aphids and ants.

But the leaves are damaged

Then to top it off the soil under one of the tomatoes has more ants than soil. So is this a insect problem? Or a disease? Or all of them? I would say All !
1. over-watering, which causes blight. Is the main reason.
2. Ants are the 2nd reason. They are attracted to aphids.
Which contributed to the disease of the plant.

Water only the bases of your tomato plants, and try to water in the morning. Plants sitting in dampness overnight may become more susceptible to blight. But this in my case is too much rain. All I can do is make an umbrella for them with soda bottles for the small ones and plastic tarps for the bigger ones.

Ants and Aphids Usually an ant problem is a symptom of an aphid infestation.
aphids suck plant juices from leaves, stems and fruit. They cause distorted and stunted growth as well as discoloring and wilting. They are also vectors for virus diseases. They attract ants, bees, wasps and flies because of the production of honeydew. Ants farm them and protect them from predators for food.
Link to more information on aphids

What I did to stop the damage.

I did not like to do it but I added seven dust to the ground for a day . Then removed the top soil and replaced it with fresh clean soil. removed all the damaged leaves and covered the plant higher with soil and cypress mulch. This made a big improvement to the plants health. When it rains, I covered them with plastic this also helped to protect them from too much water on the plant leaf.

Click here for an update.
The plants are doing better now.

1 comment:

Beth Niquette said...

Egad! What will you do????