Veggie1
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Sick plant... Please help!

Can you tell me if what is wrong with my plant? I'm a first time gardener and I don't know the signs of a sick plant. The soil is miracle grow and it's been in the pot and sun for about 5 weeks. Temps have been in the low 80's and high 50s at night. Plant was really healthy two days ago and the leaves just started shrinking up and wilting. I watered it Friday night and sprinkled a little bit of seven dust on it this morning (the White spots in photo). My other plant is the same and looks great. Please help... I attached photos.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Why did you put the Sevin on it? Did you think the problem was bugs? Have you seen any?

Your pictures don't show what the size of the pot is. Tomatoes are big plants and need big pots, at least 5 gallon bucket size. If it is in a smaller pot, that may be part of the problem. Have you been watering regularly. Either over watering or under watering can cause wilting.
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Veggie1
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

They are in 5 gallon buckets with drain holes. A friend told me to put some sevin dust on to keep the bugs away. I have not seen any bugs yet and honestly I wouldn't know what bugs are bad. I thought I was doing something preventative. I water regularly but I try not to over water. Maybe I don't water enough? I'm extremely paranoid about that from all the reading I've done to try and get a little educated about gardening. I really love it but I am stressed out about doing the right things for the plants. Ugh!

Juliuskitty
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Can we see some close up photos of the undersides of the affected leaves. Also, did you put your finger in the potting soil up to the first joint to FEEL if it is moist? Chances are that it has moisture because you said you watered it Friday, but it can't hurt to check. So if lack of water isn't the cause, then we need to see the leaves underneath. The one really wilted one looks like mine do when I accidentally break a leaf, so check for that too.
OK, waiting for more info. BTW- there are healthier more organic just as effective treatments for insects, I would consider Sevin to be a last resort treatment, you can't even get your animals near it, and you have to wear mask and gloves so it doesn't get on you. Nasty! Please let us teach you about better more natural pesticides.
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feldon30
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Juliuskitty wrote:BTW- there are healthier more organic just as effective treatments for insects, I would consider Sevin to be a last resort treatment, you can't even get your animals near it, and you have to wear mask and gloves so it doesn't get on you. Nasty! Please let us teach you about better more natural pesticides.
Reading this made me question if I am joining the right gardening forum. While I am working hard to improve my soil with compost and organic soil amendments, and while I use organic fertilizers (TomatoTone, Happy Frog, Fish Emulsion, etc.), my understanding is that Sevin is nearly as hazardous as has been suggested.

I apply a light coating of Sevin to my tomato plants when I first put them out and reapply as needed for 2-3 weeks until plants are large enough not to need it. Why? Because there is no organic product I've found which is effective against leaf miners or other opportunistic bugs. Leaf miners can do a lot of damage to tender seedlings and by the time you spot the damage, they've already left, so insecticidal soap wouldn't do anything.

After my tomato plants have been outside for 3 weeks, I put away the Sevin and not use it again until next year, as I do not want to kill any bees which might be trying to pollinate my tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, etc. This is also about the time I switch gears to applying Bacillus Thuringiensis for hornworms, fruit worms, and leaf rollers, as well as Exel LG for foliar fungal diseases.
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Veggie1
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Sorry for delay... Just got home. Here is a close up. I added water out of desperation and that seemed to have helped. I probably wasn't watering enough. How do you know how much water to add and how much is too much? So frustrating cause I want to do things properly to have a good crop. I am all ears about a better way for pest control and any other tips to help. Please feel free to offer up anything. I have 3 tomatoe and 2 pepper plants in 5 gallon buckets to experiment potting techniques. I also have a 60x30 garden I am trying. I love it but I don't know enough and I am trying to read up on things but it's a bit overwhelming. I would appreciate any and all help. Oh I am in zone 9 Georgia... Thanks again
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applestar
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

There have been new findings about Sevin and we had a pretty thorough discussion about it in this thread a while back. It's been banned for quite a while already in UK and Europe with pretty severe consequences if any residue is found on produce/orchard crops as I understand it.

I think you ARE at the right forum if these information are new to you and have not been discussed in previous forums where you have been.

After reading these discussions, you can make your own informed choice about the issue.

Watering -- feeling the soil is one way ... with 5 gallon buckets or other large containers, you want to push your finger into the first knuckle or about 1 inch down. Another sure way for containers that are not too big/heavy when thoroughly watered is to HEFT it.

Water running out of the drain holes is not always the first indication of sufficient watering since soil mix can pull away from the inside walls when dry and let the water run straight out without soaking in.

Taller containers can be soaked in the upper 1/3 of the mix and still be soggy in the bottom 1/3 of the container, and be bone dry in the middle layer.

Water thoroughly -- with established plants with somewhat compacted soil, I flood the container and the soil surface and let soak in three times. It's less wasteful if you have a large catch container for the sometimes nutrient-rich water that comes out. You can initially allow the container soil to soak up the water from below as well, but allow the water to drain and drip freely by raising the container above the water level afterwards.

HEFT the container after watering to get the baseline feel/weight, then water when it feels lighter/light.
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Juliuskitty
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

I don't really see much except the Sevin dust, I don't really see insects there. It probably is just a watering issue, but feel the soil before watering, so you can tell if it is dry, as I described above. I am actually in a Master Gardener program currently, and we had a University of Florida entomologist, Dr. Kern, lecture for a whole day. He said that a good insecticidal soap would work on all soft bodied insects such as aphids and whiteflies, but also works well on hard bodied insects because it clogs their spiracles and they can't breath, so they suffocate. Thats a good thing to do either early morning, or late afternoon, please don't make the common newbie mistake of spraying when the sun is high, the leaves will fry!
I think that's info for later for you, right now it's probably just a watering issue. That's good news. :D
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Veggie: don't get yourself stressed out...gardening is supposed to be fun and therapeutic. Some of the folks on this forum have been gardening not for years but decades.
Therefore, don't act out of desperation. Try to define the problem then come on here and ask the question before you take any action. There are steps to follow if and when pests are discovered and identified.
Some can be removed by hand, some by streams of water, some left alone if they aren't causing any significant damage , then, if pesticides are called for, start with the least toxic.
Supplying pictures and all the growing conditions and "amendments" you have applied will help us to help you.
Finally, have you been adding fertilizer to your container , what kind, and how often.
Wilting of leaves are usually caused be the inability of the plants vascular system to supply the required amount of water.
George

Juliuskitty
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

feldon30 wrote:
Juliuskitty wrote:BTW- there are healthier more organic just as effective treatments for insects, I would consider Sevin to be a last resort treatment, you can't even get your animals near it, and you have to wear mask and gloves so it doesn't get on you. Nasty! Please let us teach you about better more natural pesticides.
Reading this made me question if I am joining the right gardening forum. While I am working hard to improve my soil with compost and organic soil amendments, and while I use organic fertilizers (TomatoTone, Happy Frog, Fish Emulsion, etc.), my understanding is that Sevin is nearly as hazardous as has been suggested.

I apply a light coating of Sevin to my tomato plants when I first put them out and reapply as needed for 2-3 weeks until plants are large enough not to need it. Why? Because there is no organic product I've found which is effective against leaf miners or other opportunistic bugs. Leaf miners can do a lot of damage to tender seedlings and by the time you spot the damage, they've already left, so insecticidal soap wouldn't do anything.

After my tomato plants have been outside for 3 weeks, I put away the Sevin and not use it again until next year, as I do not want to kill any bees which might be trying to pollinate my tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, etc. This is also about the time I switch gears to applying Bacillus Thuringiensis for hornworms, fruit worms, and leaf rollers, as well as Exel LG for foliar fungal diseases.
Here's my excellent solution to leafminers, without any spray. It's yellow sticky traps, which are very inexpensive at Amazon, and they twist tie onto your trellis or cage, last the whole season.
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Leaf miner flies trapped
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feldon30
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

applestar wrote:There have been new findings about Sevin and we had a pretty thorough discussion about it in this thread a while back. It's been banned for quite a while already in UK and Europe with pretty severe consequences if any residue is found on produce/orchard crops as I understand it.

I think you ARE at the right forum if these information are new to you and have not been discussed in previous forums where you have been.

After reading these discussions, you can make your own informed choice about the issue.
Thank you for the link.

I use as few chemicals as is possible, as I do not wish to harm bees, earthworms, and other beneficials. Further, a healthy soil interests me as I've tasted the same tomato grown in a garden full of shredded leaves and mountains of compost compared to a garden with only a little and the difference was staggering.

Thanks Julius for the yellow sticky traps suggestion. That looks really effective!
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Here's a couple articles about the Sevin:

https://www.dontspraycalifornia.org/carbarylog.htm

https://www.healthyworld.org/sevin.html

In the second one it mentions that as well as being harmful to humans, to the environment, to all the aquatic life in the rivers and streams (once it washes off your plants into the soil and water table), to all the beneficial insects that would otherwise be protecting your plants and pollinating the, the Sevin is also harmful to your plants.

But my point would be don't spray anything preventatively. There's nothing you can prevent. If you spray the Sevin or anything else general purpose, you kill off all the beneficial insects which would ordinarily keep the bad guys in check. Then when the bad guys show up, once the insecticide is no longer active, they multiply explosively. Treat problems when you have them only when you know what the problem is and what's the least damaging, most targeted way to deal with that problem. Never spray your whole garden with anything, except (maybe) pure water. Treat the problem where it is. I can't count the number of people who have written in here to say oh oops, I sprayed my garden with X and now everything is dying.

Julius, congratulations on being in the Master Gardener program! I certainly agree that insecticidal soap or just a soapy water spray is a very good treatment for aphids and any soft bodied insects. I don't know about the beetles. One year I was dealing with a Japanese beetle outbreak. I was shaking them into a bowl of water and detergent, made up quite strong. They were swimming around in it quite happily for a long time, and were crawling up the bowl, getting ready to leave, until I used a big spoon to push them under the water and keep them there until they drowned. I obviously can't say for sure, if they had flown off, would they have died eventually. But it is hard for me to imagine that just spraying it on them would have done anything. They have hard wing covers that protect their bodies and their spiracles.

So once again, the moral of the story is you have to know what you are dealing with and then use the right method for that.
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Back to the original topic. Veggie1, I don't think there's anything wrong with your tomato plant. I don't think it is sick. It doesn't even appear to have bugs that I can tell. I think it is just a watering issue and you just have to learn how to water your containers thoroughly until all the soil is moistened and then don't water it again for awhile. And as someone else noted, sometimes little branches just get broken and then wilt like that. So relax and enjoy! I liked what GEOSAN said, this is supposed to be fun! :)
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

rainbowgardener wrote:
Julius, congratulations on being in the Master Gardener program! I certainly agree that insecticidal soap or just a soapy water spray is a very good treatment for aphids and any soft bodied insects. I don't know about the beetles. One year I was dealing with a Japanese beetle outbreak. I was shaking them into a bowl of water and detergent, made up quite strong. They were swimming around in it quite happily for a long time, and were crawling up the bowl, getting ready to leave, until I used a big spoon to push them under the water and keep them there until they drowned. I obviously can't say for sure, if they had flown off, would they have died eventually. But it is hard for me to imagine that just spraying it on them would have done anything. They have hard wing covers that protect their bodies and their spiracles.
Thanks Rainbow :D
Yes I think you are right about those beetles not being susceptible to soapy water. You can pick off a few, but what would you do if you had a swarm? What do you use if you have a true bug problem, like stink bugs for instance?
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

This is getting OT but maybe good for the OP for future reference?

For a whole swarm of Japanese beetles and stinkbugs, I have found the "Bag and Stomp" method to be effective for plants with the right structure.
1) in the early morning while the bugs are still slow, toss a large plastic bag (toy store bag or outlet store bag was what I used but dry cleaners bag might work too) over the entire plant or branch, etc.
2) holding the bag closed, vigorously shake off the bugs/beetles inside the bag.
3) slip the bag off, roll or fold the top closed, then toss it on the ground and do your rendition of the Mexican Hat Dance, except your goal is to stomp all over every square inch of the bag.
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Veggie1
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Thanks for the great info everyone! I discovered it was a watering issue. Sorry for the false 911 alarm but to me it was.... lol. I wasn't adding enough water and now that I applied enough water, the plant looks extremely healthy again. Stressful experience but educational as well. I do love this gardening stuff and find it very relaxing but stressful because my lack of knowledge. I check my plants every morning and 2 or 3 times at night lol. I read these forums alot as I continue to learn and I really appreciate all the time you guys have taken to reply to my post. I am going to research more about pest control as I see there is alot more to it than just running to Lowes. Thanks again guys!!

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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

I just go in late. The white stuff under your leaf. Is it a little sticky. It kind o looks like a light white fly problem. White flies are notoriously pesticide resistant. If you see some small white flies hovering around when you shake the plant that might be what they are.

I used to use sevin, but I stopped years ago. I only use organophosphates only as a last resord now.

White flies will be taken care of hosing off the leaves with water or spray the undersides of the affected leaves with alcohol early in the morning. Normally lady bugs will eat the white flies, but if you are using sevin you will kill the lady bugs.

Your plant looks fairly healthy. The bottom leaves will yellow later on, take them off when that happens to prevent fungal problems. It is good that you are vigilant, but don't fret too much. If your plant is healthy it can tolerate a few bugs without any problems.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Feldon - I just looked back at this and noticed your reference to leaf miners. The sevin is not likely to be effective against them either, since they are protected inside the leaf. What works for me is trap crops. Best is velvet leaf, which is a wildflower, with (as you might guess) very soft velvety leaves. The leaf miners prefer those leaves to anything else. So I just scatter a few around the garden and pull off and discard leaves as they get leaf miner trails in them. Lambsquarter and columbine are also reputed to be trap crops for them.
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

A comment on Sevin Dust. If you must use Sevin please use the liquid and not the dust. Bees carry the dust back to the hive and kill the hive. In many parts of the country the bees in you garden are from commercial or residential hives. Not only is the dust killing off the hives but it is having a negative impact on someone else's lively hood.

Julius - love the sticky traps. I will definitely use that in my garden this year (if I ever finish cleaning it out and get it planted).

Congrats on your soon to be status of Master Gardener. What a wonderful program! Bet you have made lots of new friends. The Extension Office in Lafayette, La. has started a new program - Master Horticulturalist. I found out about it too late to get enrolled in this year's class. On my calendar for next year.
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Juliuskitty
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Re: Sick plant... Please help!

Elizabeth, thank you. FYI- I get the sticky traps at Amazon. They are $13 for 15, and each one lasts my entire 7 month season so they are cost effective. The directions say tp put them out every 25 feet to monitor insect concentration, but I put them out every 5 feet, and no more leafminers, but even better, no more whiteflies. They have blue ones now to attract thrips, another problem here in bugorida!
My newest threat is the tomato bug, aka tomato suck bug. Never saw them before this year but they were everywhere, they destroy blossoms so fruit yield was much less. I wish they would shake off into a bag, but they are tiny, crawl fast as a nymph, and fly as an adult. Scientific name Engytatus Modesta. They just laughed at my soapy water spray.
Sorry for the thread hijack. :shock: Where is the OP?
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