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Tomato leaves curling....HELP!!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by godfreygirl on July 02, 2003 07:16 AM
I have six tomato plants, but three of them have leaves that are curling at the edges. I have sprayed them with tomato bug spray, but my Big Boy, Roma and one of my three Beef Steak plants have curled leaves. Can anyone tell me what is causing this? The others are growing pretty fast, but these are growing very slowly. Thanks for any advice you can give.
by Nikkal on July 02, 2003 07:53 AM
Hi Godfreygirl
You MIGHT have tomato leaf curl virus, but before you panic, a couple of questions - are the leaves curling "up" or "down"? how old are your plants? what part of the plants is affected? (bottom only, top only, whole plant, etc.) have you had any drastic weather changes there? (from cool and rainy to hot and sunny, for example) are there any other symptoms? (yellowing of leaves, brown spots, etc.)
If you could post a pic that would be great, but even the answers to these questions should help alot in figuring out the problem
Let us know, and I'm sure we can help ya out!


p.s. I believe I noticed you're from IL, to my knowledge, (and I could be mistaken) tomato leaf curl virus has not been reported that far north, if it's any consolation...

* * * *
The Earth does not belong to us - We belong to the Earth
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer~

by weezie13 on July 02, 2003 08:35 AM
I posted something somewheres about this too!
Brain Drain Again!!!! Can't remember where.

Sometimes can be because of too much heat, or too much water or not enough water.

I also heard something about not enough calcium in the soil??????????????????????
Anyone else heard that????

What conditions do you have your tomatoes in?
What are the watering practices?
Soil checked for nutrients??

Also, have you recently used fertilizer or something nitrogen???????.........

Let us all know!!!

* * * *

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 godfreygirl on July 02, 2003 08:59 AM
That was fast....thank you. is affecting the lower leaves and the new growth doesn't seem to be bothered YET. They are curling UP. I ran out and took two pictures...I have a cheap digital, so they're a bit blurry but may help IF I can figure out how to post them

Now for weather...YES...we have had 95 degree one day and 50 degress the next day weather AND we broke the 18?? record for rain this year....we have had LOTS

About my son tilled it for me and we tilled in a LOT of composted manure. And....about feeding. I have been feeding it Miracle Grow about every other week.

How old are they....I got them in a bit late this year...I think I put them in about the first week in June because it rained for over a week here and I couldn't get them in.

The other Beef Steaks (3) are doing well. The Big Boy looks the worse. Now to see if I can get the pictures uploaded.
Thanks SO much for your help. I don't want to lose those plants. much for that. My photos are not an html and I don't know how to get them from my photo album on my compter to this email....any suggestions?? Thanks again for the help.

by godfreygirl on July 02, 2003 09:23 AM
Thanks Bill...I just sent them to you.

by Bill on July 02, 2003 11:36 AM
okie dokee..... here's the pix
by godfreygirl on July 02, 2003 12:17 PM
Thanks....can you tell by looking at the pics what my problem is????
by Nikkal on July 02, 2003 07:44 PM
Sorry it took so long - darned job just takes up too much of my free time!

Well, I've looked at the pix, checked both my plant physiology and pathology books, and a few university sites, and I can tell you that your plants don't appear to be exhibiting any of the symptoms of any macro- or micro-nutrient deficiency. IMO, you can rule that out. While some nutrient deficiencies do cause leaf curl, there are also other symptoms present at the same time.
As for tomato leaf curl virus, yes, it does cause upward leaf roll, and stunted growth, but it doesn't progress from the bottom of the plant upward. While it _will_ affect all leaves, it usually begins on new growth, which you said seems to be healthy.
A couple more things to check - look very closely at your leaves (especially the undersides) and check for _any_sign_at_all_ of a purple or yellowish tint, either on the edges or between the veins. Also, feel the leaves of an affected plant, and then a leaf of one of the healthy ones. (It would be a good idea to wash your hands in between, many bacterial and other fungi are spread by contact) With the leaves, you'll be checking to see if the "sick" plant's leaves feel thicker than the healthy one's. While you're checking the leaves, check the stems also. A plant that's just "wilted" (too much or too little water, excessive heat or cold, etc.) will have stems that are flimsy and will flop around. Tomato leaf curl virus will cause the stems to be quite stiff.
My first instinct says it's not tomato leaf curl virus,but see what you can find out, let me know, and we can go from there, okay?


* * * *
The Earth does not belong to us - We belong to the Earth
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer~

by godfreygirl on July 03, 2003 06:15 AM
Yes, isn't that the just gets in the way of our productive free time to do REAL things...

Now...about my plants again. I just went out and got a leaf from my two sick plants and took a picture of JUST each leaf. I'm going to email them to you again....thanks for letting me do that.

Plus I discovered that my Beef Master is pulling out of it VERY well....but my two plants that aren't doing so well are my Big Boy and my Early Girl....I thought that one was a Beef Master, but I saw the name tag and it's's the Early Girl.

Now...what I found:

No purple or yellow tint on either.
Stems seem limp and not stiff.
Sick leaves are much thicker than the healthy ones...but the new ones are still small.

I sprayed them again this morning with "Green Light" Tomato & Vegetable Spray. It says it's a Fungicide, Insecticide and Miticide...but I have sprayed them with this from the beginning.

Any help you can give on my problem will be appreciated. I'm VERY concerned about my Early Girl. I don't think it IS going to be an "early girl" this year.

Many thanks!!

by godfreygirl on July 03, 2003 06:26 AM
OH...I'm sorry Nikkal. I just now saw it was YOU who asked me the last questions and I emailed my sick leaf pics to Bill. Is that okay? If not, can I get your email to send them to? I don't know how to upload them to the site. Thank You VERY much!!
by Nikkal on July 03, 2003 07:23 AM
Hi gfgirl

Excellent news on the recovering Beefmaster! IMO, I think you're gonna be okay (well, your plants will, anyway)! The only signs you have of the virus are the thicker leaves, (which I suppose _could_ be 'cause they're still small) and the wilt. I really think the prob could be the extreme weather conditions you've mentioned (hot to cold, lots of rain, boy, can I tell ya about rain!! ), especially since you have one that coming out of it. Spraying w/ the Green Light is exactly what you need to be doing, since it has a fungicide and insecticide. Leaf curl virus is often spread by whiteflies, and although you haven't _seen_ any, if they have taken up residence in a nearby host plant (it could be any of a long list of shrubs, flowers, etc.), the wind will also spread the fungus. The fungicide in it will also control other viruses that may be present. Pay close attention to the reapplication rate, and continue until all signs of disease are gone.

Please don't think I'm a huge fan of chemicals, sprays or otherwise, (actually I most often go the organic route), but sometimes there is just not a choice if you want to save a plant that's in trouble.

A few general tips to help in case it's just stress - (don't know if these will help in your case, your plants seem pretty well established)

Allow as much room as possible around each plant for air curculation (disease loves a "close" environment)

Although a south-facing wall or side of the house can be great for getting a jump on the season, (creates a warm microclimate), it can literally be a killer when summer comes, as extra heat will be reflected onto your plants. I use my "south sides" as starter and hardening off beds in the spring, but have my veg garden planted on the south side of a hedge, which I keep well trimmed during the season. It provides a windbreak, but the air also circulates through it.

Keep a close check on water levels. (I can hear the groans already)

Although many areas had record amounts of rainfall this spring, the water drains so deep into the subsurface that your veggies roots aren't able to go after it. Tomatoes need 1 to 1 1/2" of water a week, and it doesn't seem that we can "rollover" the extra water from the week before. This spring, in my area, we broke every recorded record for rainfall, and I've still had to water every week for the last 3 weeks.

Well, gotta go work again , just wanted to let ya know you're doing the right thing, and I personally think the plants will be okay! Keep the faith!


* * * *
The Earth does not belong to us - We belong to the Earth
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer~

by godfreygirl on July 03, 2003 07:50 AM
Thanks Nikkal . I hope you are right. I will keep spraying them and keep an eye on them. My veggie garden is on the West side of the yard...the ONLY place I have that is not in full shade...LOTS of trees. Every other garden I have HAS to be shade gardens. But I love ferns, impatiens, hostas, etc. anyway.

I will keep an eye on the watering. I read before...a long time ago...that it's best to do a VERY DEEP watering once a week rather than water every day...and that's what I do. I will keep up the spraying and hope the two sick ones pull out of it. It looks like my Roma is pulling out my Beef Master is.

Thanks for all your help AND I'm SO sorry about you having to work . I know JUST how you feel and I'd better get back to mine too.

by OhMrWilson13 on August 02, 2004 11:27 PM
Hi all, I'm a new member to this forum, but I've been reading here quite some time now and it's provided me with invaluable information countless times.

I have a question regarding curling tomato leaves as well. Both my Better boy (VFNAS) and Ace (VF) plants seem to be suffering from curling leaves, the latter more so than the former. I have spent much time reasearching tomatoes and their diseases, and I have to ask whether or not the curly leaf virus is known to reside in Southern Calirfornia. I have herad of it in Arizona, but have no idea if it exists here. The leaves of the Ace are very curled, leatheary, and the veins along the underside are indeed slighty purple along the edges. However, the upper/new growths do not seem to be much affected. The Better boy has fewer curled leaves, and none are purple. Also, the leaves have been curled quite some time now (2-weeks?) and weather has been....fairly stable, except nightime/daytime fluctuations of 35 degrees. I have tried over and under - watering my toms but apparently no luck in curing the leaves. I applied mirracle grow earlier, but have not done so for 3 weeks, and still no change except for increased curling. Stems are flimsy towards the top of the plant and harder towards the bottom. Growth does not seem to be greatly affected, and none of the leaves have major spots or turned yellow.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated....thnx!

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