Chicken Killer
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 8:05 am
Location: Central Virginia

What's killing my tomatoes?

After transplanting various kinds of tomato plants which I had started from seed indoors, many are wilting and dying. I buried them to about 4" above the roots, as I do every spring. Autopsy results show a portion of the stems of each are dry and hollow, not stiff when you pinch them. The affected portion of stem is typically from the top of the roots to about 2" below the ground surface. Is there some sort of insect that is getting inside the stem? I appreciate any help!

Greener Thumb
Posts: 812
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:11 am
Location: Sussex. England

Two culprits spring to mind Chicken Killer.
Verticillium and fusarium wilts.
Both carry those symptoms.

Green Thumb
Posts: 358
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:06 pm
Location: MD Suburbs of DC, 7a

CK, I live in MD and we've had a pretty cool year up until now (including temps in the 60's last week). If I had to take a guess at this time it would Verticillium wilt. Fusarium tends to more prevalent in warmer soil. The big problem with both wilts is that there are no chemical (or natural) agents to deal with them. Both fungi can live for years in the soil. Your options are rather limited. One thing would be to not plant them in the same place the next year. Of course, if you're like me, that really isn't an option. A better option would be to plant varieties that are VFN resistant.

Posts: 13906
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Third option, if you really like those varieties, plant them in containers with good potting mix and elevate the containers so they do not touch the ground. You will need to be careful to wash hands and tools so as not to contaminate the soil.

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