Page 1 of 1

Tomatos Getting White Leaves

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 1:21 pm
by jasondainter
Hello All.

My first post here in these forums, ive recently rented an allotment space round the back of my garden so have been going gardening mad this (year especially when it comes to tomatoes).

My question is about some Duchy Moneymaker Organic tomatoes I have started from seed. What Ive done so far...

I started the plants around April time inside germinated them and grew them to about 10 cm or so till they looked strong enough. I'm based in Sweden, Uppsala by the way so last frost date tends to be a tiny bit little later (couple of weeks maybe) than the UK.

You can see here things were all going to plan at this point...

About 1.5 weeks ago I planted the tomatoes outside. We've just had a very hot period and have just hit the last frost date, its still a bit cold one some days but figured it was safe enough to plant the tomatos out by now.

I dug small compost holes and put them into the ground, and have been keeping them well watered.

Today ive noticed that the leaves are turning white (cue shock horror music!)...

See pic:


Ive done a bit of reading on this and my obvious factors that could have caused this are:

a) planting them out a bit too early perhaps
b) Not hardening them up (they went straight from window sill into the ground which I've now realised was a bit of a schoolboy error!)
c) Possibly watering the leaves and recently we had a spout of strong sun so could have burned the leaves.

It seems really there is a lot of things that could have caused this, but does anyone have any tips on going forwards what I can do to reduce this in the hope that they will pull through? (I really don't want my entire set of 10 or so plants to die on my first attempt!).

My thinking was:

1) feeding with tomato feed (am going to get some by tomorrow latest to feed them with)

2) Covering with a gardening blanket to shelter from the cold a bit, I don't currently have one (and its quite a large space) so any ideas on make shift covers are welcome!

3) Not watering the leaves when I water them (and trying to water around them at the base)

... are these good ideas and any others?

My tomatoes need you! Thanks in advance! :-)

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 1:47 pm
by rainbowgardener
Not hardening off! Tender leaves that aren't used to the sun, sunburn/ bleach out. The sun indoors on a window sill is a teeny-tiny fraction of direct sun outdoors. The need to get used to it gradually. When I first take plants out, I put them in a location where they get ZERO direct sun. Then gradually move them to locations with more exposure, starting with just a couple hours of AM sun.

Not watering the leaves is a good idea, but for other reasons, mainly disease prevention.

The burned leaves will not recover, but new leaves the plant puts out should be fine.

Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 5:03 pm
by jasondainter
Thanks so much for the help!

Confirms what I was suspecting....

What are the best way to give the plants maximum survival at pulling through? Should I cut off the white leaves? Are there any ways to reduce the amount of shock (gardening blanket?)...

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 8:22 am
by jasondainter
Hi Guys.

Any thoughts? Cut off the white leaves or leave them on?

Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 2:44 pm
by dpurdy
I had the same problem as you experienced with the leaves turning white. I tried to rush some cucumber plants a few weeks ago, and wanted to get them in the ground before I properly hardened them off. This was the first time that I had tried this. The edges of the leaves turned white and then the whole leaf turned pale, and eventually I just cut off the infected leaves. Less than 10 days later, everyone seems to have recovered and are doing just fine. If your tomato plants that are affected are still producing new growth, I would remove the dead leaves. Many people remove lateral or sucker branches all the time, with no affect to the plant. As rainbowgardener stated, the sunburned leaves will not recover, so you may as well eliminate them. In a week or so, you should see a recovery with your plants. Hope everything goes well for you and you see a great harvest from these plants. Trial and error is how we all learn. Lesson learned for the future.

Posted: Thu May 31, 2012 9:24 am
by jasondainter
Thanks Dpurdy!

I'll try cutting off the dead leaves (some look very white/dead),but am being careful not to pull too much off the plants as they're still only very small.

In hindsight I've learned two valuable lessons!..

1) ALWAYS harden off tomatoes before planting out!

2) Next year I am going to plant them inside from seed (where I keep them in the windowsill) a bit earlier even around feb time. I had a friend who did this and her plants were much bigger before they were planted out so presumably will help too.

In the mean time, we have a rainy week coming up here in Uppsala, Sweden so that should keen them well watered and hopefully not too much bright sun to shock them (the week I planted them we did have some very extreme sunlight so this may have added to the shock).

Will let you know if they pull through!

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:27 pm
by leofff
Just pinch off the leaves. I went around the garden last night doing this. About half of my tomatoes are suffering from slight transplant shock with yellowing/withering of the bottom leaves. Get rid of the leaves and/or branches and don't worry about it. The rest of the plant will do fine.