brigette
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Drooping, wilting tomato plant

I have 6 tomato plants (4 different types) growing in a 4' x 8' bed. They are all about 5' tall with tomatoes coming in on all of them. This morning when I went out, one of the plants, a Bonnie "Park's Whopper" hybrid was drooping terribly and looks very sick. I live in West Virginia and it's been raining a lot over the past month with very hot temps. I do have a black walnut tree growing about 30' from these tomatoes. What is happening to my beautiful plant?!!! Is it going to spread to the others? Please tell me something can help!
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

I don't believe it has anything to do with the black walnut tree. Most of my yard is within 30 feet of my big old black walnut and I have a bunch of stuff growing right under it.

I don't know what happened to your plant, but looking at your picture, I don't see any obvious signs of disease - spots, browning, curling, etc - other than the wilting. Since you were implying that none of the other plants in the bed with it are wilting like that, it inclines me to think that something happened to the roots of that one. Either it got root rot (from all the rain), or some kind of root pest (eg wireworm or root knot nematodes), or maybe you were digging around it and cut some roots?

Incidentally 6 tomato plants in a 4x8 bed is an awful lot. I sometimes put five and I am known for crowding things. Having them over-crowded encourages the start and spread of diseases.
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brigette
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

Thanks for the input. Probably root rot since we've been having so much rain (WV). Just afraid its some kind of bacterial problem. From what I've read those are a real pain to deal with. The planting instructions said 2 to 3 feet apart so I went 2 feet. Just not sure what to do at this point. Sad about all those green tomatoes!

dtizme
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

I would say your best bet now is just to leave it and hope for the best, hopefully it will battle back within a few days

brigette
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

OK folks, just got home from work, 2:00 a.m. Thought I'd go out and take a look at the plant. Good news is: The sick tomato plant looks perfectly fine tonight. Bad news is that I've read about fusarium wilt. The article says it affects the plant from the top down and that it may recover in the evening but eventually the whole plant will wilt and stay wilted. I'm hoping that it's just recovering after a much needed day with no rain and I was able to get out there and weed somewhat and loosen the soil up a little to "air out". I'll find out tomorrow morning when I get up! I've also read about root-knot nematodes. Anyone have suggestions on controlling these things?? On another positive note, with the day of sunshine that we had, all the tomato plants seems to have grown another 6" taller! :flower:

imafan26
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

Root knot nematodes are difficult to control. Planting varieties that are resistant helps. There are some other things to do like solarizing and planting a cover crop after the tomatoes that can reduce their numbers like sun hemp or certain varieties of dwarf french and African marigolds.

https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/PD-32.pdf
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ng045
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brigette
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

Thanks for the reply. I've read somewhere that corn or beans are a good follow-up crop so next year I guess I'll have to find somewhere else for my tomatoes! The sick plant is looking much better today even in the sunlight so it looks like root rot may have been the issue. Now if we could just get the rain to stop for a couple days, that would be great! We need to dry out here!

Update: I spoke too soon apparently. When I was out earlier it was cloudy and the plant looked fine. Now the sun is out and not only is the original plant wilting again, the one across from it (same type) is drooping at the top. The other 6 which are different types from these 2 still look OK. If it is some sort of wilt disease (bacteria, Fusarium, Verticillium), can these be passed from plant to plant or does it get started through the soil only?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

Just now saw your response. Unfortunately all the common tomato diseases can spread from plant to plant. That is one reason you don't want to over crowd. If the plants touch each other or water that was on the leaves of one can drip onto another, that encourages disease spread. Also crowding reduces air circulation which is another favorable condition for disease growth. It will help if you keep your tomatoes well pruned for better air circulation. Bnut be very careful wissth the pruners, rinsing in bleach solution between cuts or the pruners can spread disease.
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brigette
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

Thanks for the advice. Tomorrow I'll go out and do a little trimming on the sick plants. Since my last post, I decided that since they do seem to look less distressed when they're not in direct sunlight, I've put a tarp up about 2' above the 2 sick plants. Does help somewhat. Just trying to keep them going long enough to get some of the green tomatoes to a decent size.

Let me pick your brain a bit more since you have a lot of tomato "know how": The 2 Red Beefsteak plants I have at the opposite end of the bed are growing very tall, but don't seem to have many tomatoes. Is that just a characteristic of that variety? The Heinz Super Roma plants next to them are not quite as tall, but are loaded with tomatoes.

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gixxerific
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

Wilting can be something as simple as not enough water leading to less turgor pressure which makes the stems droop. Think of a balloon that doesn't have enough air. Though it can also be too much water. You need to find a happy medium.

From the pic I do not see any disease.

imafan26
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Re: Drooping, wilting tomato plant

Wilting also happens when day temperatures get very high. the plants on the end that get the most wind will dry out the most. Also if the tomato you have is not heat tolerant, it may more likely wilt during the day and recover at night.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/advice/p ... k_of_water

From your picture, I don't really see fusarium wilt. there are usually yellow and brown leaves that follow the wilting and and if the plants look fine after they recover it may not be fusarium.

https://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r783101011.html

You can tell if you have nematodes. When you pull up the tomatoes the roots will be swollen and knobby.
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