Help! Spider mites/aphids/spotty wilted leaves

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Help! Spider mites/aphids/spotty wilted leaves

Post by llclamping »

Hey all,

I'm new here, and a first time gardener. I come to you seeking advice on some tomato plants that I've been having some problems with. I have two heirloom black cherry tomatoes (delicious!) and a grape tomato. A few weeks ago I came home from a few days away to find one of them covered in spider mites, after tossing around a few ideas I decided to go with neem oil. I went out and got some oil, mixed up a 1% solution and sprayed the plant heavily. It took care of the mites for a few days but they were back within a week. After a few more applications, I didn't see any more sign of the mites, but my leaves are getting yellow spots, curling, and dying. It looks very similar to the damage caused by the mites. It's begun to spread to the other two plants now. The plants are still fruiting, and growing new shoots, but even they succumb to it after a few days. Just yesterday I've now found the new shoots of the plants covered in aphids, so I've resumed neem applications. (every few days)

Am I dealing with very resistant spider mites here? Too much neem? Aphid damage? Another problem?

I should add that all 3 plants suffered bad stem and branch breaks early on in a crazy storm that they've recovered from, but it has left vascular tissue exposed. Recently the main stems have been turning a very dark, sickly grey green. Photos below:



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Re: Help! Spider mites/aphids/spotty wilted leaves

Post by imafan26 »

Neem is a contact spray. It has to make contact with the pests and smother them. It does not have residual effect, although neem is also an antifeedent so it sometimes has a delay between the application and the decline in pest numbers.
It is just that time of year with hot, usually dry and dusty conditions that bring out the mites. I am having aphid issues now because of the frequent storm of the week resulting in rain nearly every day followed by steamy humid days.

For the spider mites and aphids you can reduce their numbers by blasting water under the leaves to dislodge them, control the ants with ant bait, and make sure the plants are getting good air ciculation.

You would have to use a contact spray weekly to keep them under control or just use the water and make sure the plants are as healthy as you can get them to be and let their natural predators take care of them. Spraying, unfortunately can kill beneficial insects like predatory mites that kill spider mites. Keeing the plants in pots that are big enough and making sure especially in very hot weather that the plants are not water stressed. Stressed plants just make better targets than healthy ones.

Mites like dusty conditions especially near roadways or if their is a lot of dust in the wind. Spraying pathways and hosing of the dust from the leaves will help to keep the problem down. Spider mites ride with the dust particles on the wind.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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