Pathfinder
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 am

identify this tomato disease >> Tomato Russet Mites

Hey guys, first time I get some tomatoes after trying for 3 years, yes the 4th year I planted my tomatoes in the winter !! yes in February !! and got 15 tomatoes between late April and May ....

come June and I am seeing the below disease around the same time when I used to plant them in April or May the past 3 years ... they just won't survive this ... the same thing over and over ... can you please identify this disease ( click on the picture for bigger size )

ImageImage

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27981
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

Where are you located?

My hunch is TRM ( tomato russet mites ) post close up pic of trunk from base of plant up. Do they seem to have brownish fuzz starting at base and spreading upwards?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Pathfinder
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 am

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

applestar wrote:Where are you located?

My hunch is TRM ( tomato russet mites ) post close up pic of trunk from base of plant up. Fo they seem to have brownish fuzz starting at base and spreading upwards?
Thanks apple star for replying, I am away of the tomatoes, I only visit them on weekends, and yeah I can confirm that part of the stem also has that same brownish color ( dark golden ) ...

This only happens in June onwards ( growing season ) ... I live on the Mediterranean, I literally cleaned the stems with OLIVE SOAP (are you familiar ??) and a soft sponge then gave them a good jet of water ... also pruned the affected leaves/

Next week I came back and found that the green leaves I left last week also got affected !!

is there an organic solution ?! deterrent companion plants for these you call them russet mites ?! resistant varieties ?
Last edited by Pathfinder on Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Pathfinder
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 am

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

@applestar I read somewhere that you have monarch butterfly as a russet mite control, is this the solution ?!

Interesting video about russet mites and different treatment with live magnification

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27981
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

That WAS an interesting video. Thanks! They do need to show what happens to the leaves ...say 24 hours after the treatment though. Do they rinse off after a period of time, etc.

...but.... :?: I don't know how you arrived at Monarch butterfly connection -- no unfortunately not.... :|

So far my best defense has been to expose them to the biodiversity of the outside Garden Patrol. It's pretty much a sure bet that there are mite predators out there, It's also possible some of them have made their way back inside with the plants last fall because TRM infested plants recovered to some degree While still inside.

I should post pictures of the two survivors (barely) -- the Winter Indoor Dwarf Arctic Rose and Tatjana are outside and trying to mature green fruits. :bouncey:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Pathfinder
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 am

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

I have researched more on the internet and from what I've read, chives seem to be repellant of spider/russet mites if planted close to the tomatoes.

can anyone confirm this, have you tried it ?! or is it bogus

Pathfinder
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 am

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

I discovered this on my tomato in my home in the city, is this also spider mites damage ?! ..... the 2 bottom branches are still green and the top branches of the tomato are still also green ..... only those 3 branches in the middle are showing this wilting look.
(kindly click on the pic for a better view )

and please reply as soon as possible so I can remove them quickly before they expand, I didn't expect to have mites in the city also !!

Image
Image

Pathfinder
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 am

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

:cry: OH MIGHTY RUSSET MITES ...... YOU WIN .... MERCY MERCY :cry:

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27981
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

Oh no.... :(

@imafan posted once before that only treatment that work is sulfur based miticide. I've also read somewhere recently that Dr. Bronner's liquid soap solution mixed with miticide works well.

--- :oops: oh wait YOU are the one that posted that video ---

...when I was going nuts trying to treat two-spotted mite infestation during winter, I was using soapy water on the tomato leaves then rinsing off every day then every other day. Trouble with that was the soap residue started to affect the leaves and get a dried out papery look.

That was the first time I had two spotted mites. But Red spider mites is fairly common indoor/houseplant pest. I don't know if they are somehow dormant and resume activity in the dead of the winter when the humidity drops to a certain level, but I do get some kind of mite infestation every winter. And TRMs (tomato russet mites) have joined the invasion.

Only solution for me has been to send them outside for the Garden Patrol to deploy appropriate anti-pest mite specialists. Last year, I deliberately brought back the TRM infested, then recovered plants back inside for the winter in hopes of bringing in the predatory mites. This past winter, I had my Winter Indoor Tomatoes go down from TRM and then some of them grew back and went on to produce fruits indicating the predators were at work (or this is the typical cycle)... But some didn't come back so hit or miss. Maybe saving seeds from the recovered ones will mean some kind of built-in resistance.

...I have a couple of in-ground tomatoes going down due to TRM right now... among unaffected ones. Hopefully there will be appropriate re-assignment of duties and protection detail. Many if not most of the remaining seedlings are in a sorry state on the picnic table. They need to be put down on or in the ground, but then they will be more likely to suffer from fungal infections. So basically they're toast.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Pathfinder
Cool Member
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:42 am

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

isn't sulfur miticide a chemical? ...well people are talking about diatomaceous earth, I don't know if it is safe for us since it has glass in it that tear-up the mites.

looks like I will have to search for predatory mites, do you have any idea if there are any kind of flower that attracts predatory mites ?

also I heard planting chives with tomato can help deter mites have you tried it before?!, I bought chive seeds anyway and sowed them yesterday on the perimeter of my container, once they are 4 inches high, I will re-sow a tomato in the center of the container and see if it does anything.

also I read that the original everglades tomato which is tiny in size can survive insects and is perennial

I don't know ... but these are the only available options before I completely forget about tomatoes after my 4th year trying, white flies are nothing compared to those mighty russet mites.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: identify this tomato disease - pathfinder

Diatomaceous earth (DE) does not have glass in it. It has the fossilized remains of diatoms-- tiny nearly microscopic marine creatures. They are sharp when looked at through a magnifying glass. To an insect, they are sharp. To us it feels like soft powder. What you are looking for is called Food Grade DE. You have eaten it, because grains are stored dusted in it, to keep bugs away.

Elemental Sulfur is an element. It is a chemical, in the sense that everything, including you and me, is made of chemicals. It is also not naturally occurring in your garden in that form, although sulfur containing compounds are everywhere. Everyone has to make their own choices and definitions, but many organic gardeners do use sulfur.

I use DE in my garden, but it can be difficult because it has to be re-applied after rain. Seasons like this year, I just give up on it, because I won't spend the time or money to put down more DE every day.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27981
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: identify this tomato disease >> Tomato Russet Mites

I'm seeing TRM on some of my Winter Indoor Tomatoes :x

But not a severe infestation (yet) -- but some of my plants are losing leaves one by one from the bottom -- only thing is they don't get totally russeted as I would expect but just dry up.

I looked under our (basically a toy) digital microscope and I only see a mite here, a mite there,... On the entire dried up leaf. Not sure what exactly is going on.
image.jpg
If you look at the top right photo, there are brown "something" sprinkled all over. They seem to be covering the entire surface. I tried to get some close ups, but I can't seem to get any good, focused image. :?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27981
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: identify this tomato disease >> Tomato Russet Mites

After looking at some more russet and other mite images, I think the brown sprinkles are mite eggs.

I found a couple of these reddish brown mites on an eggplant leaf (some of the leaves are yellowing and I thought they might be "russetting" from TRM) :o

But it's possible THESE are predatory mites.... :|
image.jpg
60x and 200x
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27981
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: identify this tomato disease >> Tomato Russet Mites

These are vague, intuitive conclusions but ...

- I'm thinking TRM's appear to seriously affect eggplants, though they have resisted and most have not been completely overwhelmed -- not totally like the tomatoes.

- On the other hand, some of the tomatoes will grow new side shoots or basal shoots, but the overwhelmed eggplants stayed dead and dried up. New side shoots of tomatoes will often grow on and replace the entire plant. But sometimes, they are overwhelmed again.

- So far, it *seems like* if I remove the TRM damaged leaves too early, the new shoots are attacked, and if I don't remove the ugly dried up and brown leaves and upper stems, they are not affected or not affected as quickly.

- Today, I picked a runty eggplant fruit from a TRM infested plant to preserve its energy and found a bunch of larger red mites on the surface of the fruit, but they are NOT red spider mites. I think they might be californicus predatory mites.

- Almost all peppers appear to be immune or only minimally affected by TRM. Some had been infested initially but have recovered (2 Trinidad Perfum plants)

- However, non-standard green foliage peppers are taking the worst damage -- Green and white variegated Fish , purple foliage Bolivian Rainbow, and purple variegated foliage Dunkel Violetter. (recovered, additional damage to some of the fruits)

- Maui Purple has been extremely vulnerable and now all four seedlings/plants have completely lost their primary leaves. Two of them had grown secondary side shoots, and looked like they might recover, but are starting to deteriorate. I'm not sure if they will make it. :(
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11392
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: identify this tomato disease >> Tomato Russet Mites

There is a lot of misconceptions about what organic really means. Most consumers think that organic means that no pesticides are used. That is a fallacy. Organic farmers use a lot of pesticides and use them more often than conventional farmers. They are just limited in what they are allowed to use and other regulations regarding inputs and buffer zones to qualify as certified organic. They are allowed certain non-organic chemicals in organic production. Usually because it is something that is necessary but not available in any other form or because they have been historically used for a long tie and is generally regarded as safe to use as directed. Usually mined elements are allowed and plant extracts are allowed as longs as they don't have other non-allowed substances added to them.

Sulfur has been used as a miticide, pH adjustment, and fungicide for literally a couple of thousand years. It does have some cautions since it can irritate eyes and skin and cannot be used over 90 degrees F, or within 3 weeks of any oil application or it will cause phytotoxicity. Elemental sulfur and some other forms of sulfer are allowed in organic farming.

Actually sulfur and pyrethrins make a very good miticide but you have to make sure that the pyrethrins are not mixed with a oil as a stabilizer. Then it would still work, but not be organic and it would persist much longer. Although pyrethrins work really well on bad infestations they are highly toxic to beneficial insects and fish. I prefer to use this combination only as a last resort and only on ornamentals. I try to use sulfur alone, but it is hard for me to find it in dust form.

https://npic.orst.edu/ingred/organic.html
https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/FST-56.pdf
https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmed ... p-69-w.pdf
https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c= ... 3.205_1601
https://extension.oregonstate.edu/lincol ... deners.pdf
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Return to “Organic Insect and Plant Disease Control”