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Curling tomato leaves

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by bcordrey on July 10, 2005 11:42 PM
I have 2 tomato plants and the new leaves on top have started to curl. I read some old posts about curling leaf virus. I'm trying to post some pictures but not sure if I'm doing it right. If you can't see the pictures can anyone help me to post them? The tomatoes look fine but the leaves don't. Can anyone help me? I'm really looking forward to a nice tomato, mayo, s&p sandwich. Thanks! Barbara from Delaware
by Sorellina on July 11, 2005 11:37 PM

I'm no master diagnostician, far from it, LOL, but there are a few things you might consider.

Have you or your neighbours been using any strong weed killers in and around your yards lately?

Are any of the leaves tightly curled into a tube? If so, look inside as you might see a large family of aphids setting up camp in your plant's leaves. Use insecticidal soap or just diluted dish soap on the critters.

What variety of tomato is that plant? Some varieties have floppy, curly leaves that are just normal. An example would be Opalka, a Polish paste variety. It looks like it's starved for water, has disease and is about to croak if you aren't aware that it just looks that way and it's happy looking that way, LOL.

I can't help you with curling leaf virus as I don't know enough about it. If the above ideas aren't an answer to your problem, you might consider checking out the tomato problem solver over at the gardenweb.

Buona fortuna,

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by bcordrey on July 11, 2005 11:58 PM
Hi Julianna, thanks for your reply. I started them from seeds and can't remember what kind they are. I know they are something standard like Big boys, nothing fancy. Actually our back yard is a turf farm and I always worry about what they are spraying but they haven't sprayed lately. I have inspected the leaves and see nothing abnormal. The tomatoes are growing normally so I guess if they don't get any worse I'll just keep watching them. Thanks again. Barbara
by Sorellina on July 12, 2005 01:10 AM

If you can, take several pictures of your plants, some showing the entire plant and some with a close-up of foliage and fruit. That would certainly help in the diagnosis or determination if what you have is actually just normal for the variety.


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by bcordrey on July 12, 2005 04:35 AM
Hi Sorellina and thanks for your reply. I have taken some more photos and you should be able to access them from the link in my first post. I don't know how to put them in my post. If you can't see them, let me know. Thanks very much. Barbara
by Sorellina on July 12, 2005 04:52 AM

You know what? Your plants look normal and healthy to me, really. Most tomato plants will have curly looking leaves emerging from the growing tip and even the larger ones on your plants are bright green without spots, wilt, or dried bits. Resist the temptation to fertilize as quite a number of problems are due to overdoing it with the fertilizer. I think your babies are fine.

Sure wish I knew the variety, though..that one's trying to bug me and I'm trying not to let it, LOL.

Julianna, who just HAS to know exactly what's what sometimes to be happy

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by limey on July 12, 2005 05:08 AM
Got this from
W Robinson @ Son. under Problem Solving:-

Unlike potatoes rolled leaves on tomatoes do not indicate disease. The curling of young leaves is usually taken as a good sign if they are dark green. The rolling of older leaves is usually due to a wide variation between day and night temperatures. Providing no pests are present no action need be taken.

by bcordrey on July 12, 2005 05:35 AM
Hi and thanks for your replies. I found the pack and they are a Bush Big Boy Hybrid if that means anything. Actually my husband fertilized them with Miracle Gro for tomatoes about a week ago. I tried, to no avail, to tell him he was putting too much on them. I'll let you guys know how they turn out. Thanks again. Barbara
by weezie13 on July 12, 2005 06:16 AM
Oh please do, we [Cool] LOVE [Love] UPDATES [critic]
and that's how we all learn [teacher] .
So, let us know [gabby] whether it's good [angel] news
or bad [devil] news, either way....

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Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

by bcordrey on July 24, 2005 06:33 AM
Hi everyone, I'm back with an update and it's not good. The first 2 tomatoes that started to turn red had the end rot thing going on. I read the other post about black bottom tomatoes and they look like mine did. I think it was from the heavy rainfall we had. For almost 2 weeks we had extremely heavy rains about every other day. The ones that are left on there look ok for now but I still have the curling leaf thing going on. Some of the ends of the curled leaves are brown and dry so I think I do have another problem. We have a wonderful produce stand just down the road from our house so I think I'll just buy my tomatoes there. Thanks again for your help. Barbara
by LMT on July 24, 2005 06:53 AM
Sally writes~ I have a problem my tomato leaves are curling really tight. They did this once before only one plant and then is was OK, but this year they are all doing it. Please tell me what to do.

A. Leaf curl is common. Almost all modern hybrids have leaves that curl, so do some heirlooms. Leaves also can curl if it is too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet or there is a heavy fruit burden. Leaf curl is to be distinguished from leaf roll, a common condition seen early in the season when root and foliage ratios are out of whack. As the plants mature this goes away.

What comes to my mind what curls and kills the leave of tomato plants is a tobacco virus. Is there someone who uses tobacco products touching the plants or even getting close to them? Is someone growing tobacco in your neighborhood? Tomato plants are terribly susceptible to tobacco and nicotine and their viruses.

When you purchase tomatoes, whether it be transplants or seeds, get the kind with the most virus and disease resistance, the tags will refer to VF and VFN resistance on the name label. These varieties have been developed with natural disease resistance, and it sure does work. In very high humidity, tomatoes can often get the viruses without the natural resistance type.

Do you actively 'de-sucker' your plants? Only do this once or twice at the beginning of the season and then leave them alone. I had a leaf curl problem similar to what you are describing when I would sucker them heavily. The plants would eventually recover.

Here is a great UC Davis website for the pests and diseases of tomatoes:


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Currently listening to: Vince Guaraldi Trio -- A Charlie Brown Christmas. Adult and contemporary but evocative of youth and innocence, a must own CD.
by delawaredrew on July 28, 2005 04:15 AM
Hi Barbara,
Sorry to hear about your bottom rot, but there is tons of info here about and elsewhere online about it, mine was from over watering last summer I think. This year, I'm doing Grape tomatoes and trying to leave them alone more, so far so good. They also have leaves curling, but I'm trying not to worry. It's been super-hot here in southern Delaware and the tomatoes are loving it. I'm growing in pots so I just moved them under the eaves during the rain a while back.
Good luck
by HorsesRUs on July 30, 2005 10:59 PM
Hi Everyone.

Can someone please help me understand what you use to get rid of leaf curl virus?

I think years ago my mom told me that my grandmother used to use Malothion on all her tomaoto plans but what do they use these days?

Thanks for any help.

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by Sorellina on August 06, 2005 12:51 AM

From what I've been hearing from so-called experts, tobacco mosaic virus isn't all that common, so I'd kind of dismissed it as a possibility. Also, hybrids with the alphabetical resistance labelling offer some resistance, true, but not fool-proof and in a year like this one, even the hybrids are getting hit with Verticulum, Fusarium, and other wilts.

As a side note, some of my pastes have a slight leaf curl to them, but I attribute this to crazy rollercoaster weather we've been having..i.e. thunderstorms with or without rain, heavy humidity, very abnormally high heat. They're still cranking out tomatoes and that's really the point, eh?


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