RickNC
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:57 pm
Location: NC

What's causing this?

So I planted six tomatoes in a raised bed this year. Two on the left are beefsteak and were store bought as small plants, the two in the middle are roma and were also store bought as young plants, and the two smaller ones on the end are heirloom I grew from seeds bought online.
[img]https://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a279/RTrone/P6150222.jpg[/img]

The issues are mainly with one of the heirloom types but I see it on all of them to a degree. If you look at my next two pics you will see how the lower leaves on this plant are curled up badly.
[img]https://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a279/RTrone/P6150218.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a279/RTrone/P6150224.jpg[/img]

Here are some pics of my other plants that also have the curling on the lower leaves a little bit.
[img]https://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a279/RTrone/P6150220.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a279/RTrone/P6150221.jpg[/img]

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

tomato leaf curl

Several things can cause this... could be environmental stress from transplant shock (you didn't say how long ago these got planted in the raised bed), over watering, over fertilizing. If this is the case, just back off a little and they will be fine.

Leaf curl can also be caused by herbicide damage, if for example the lawn around your raised bed was sprayed with weed killer and some drifted on to your tomatoes. But I think they would be showing other symptoms, besides the curl.

Or leaf curl can be caused by some plant viruses including tomato yellow leaf curl virus, tobacco mosaic virus or fusarium wilt, a fungal infection. But again in all those cases you would be seeing other symptoms--purple veins, stunted growth, dwarfing of leaves, yellowing of leaves.

In the absence of any symptoms like that, that I could tell from the pictures, I'm going to guess that it's a stress reaction and they will be ok. But I'm not any expert on plant diseases. There are several people around the forum with more knowledge than me on this topic--hopefully they will chime in.

TZ -OH6
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

Looks like common leaf curling from wet soil. Often seen on older leaves after long periods of rain. It doesn't hurt the plant. Some varieties do it more than others. Herbicides and viruses affect growing tissue so you won't see them change a mature leaf like that.


I don't know if your plant placement has had some affect, but in the future I suggest putting the plants further away from the side wall to give the roots more space, especially where corners are concerned. Root competition from putting plants close together is not good but being stopped by a wall is much worse, branches/leaves will grow out away from the other plants.

RickNC
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:57 pm
Location: NC

These plants have been in the ground for months so it is not transplant shock. Yeah my wife said the same thing about being close to the walls. There is no possibility of any herbicides or anything lilke that as nobody uses them around me.

I fertilize every few weeks with a tablespoon of 10-10-10 and it has been close to that since the last time. I only water when the top one inch of soil is dry and then I water for two minutes per plant.

Only one of the heirloom plants has this badly but the other one doesn't. My beefsteaks have it to a small degree but those and my romas are producing many tomatoes.

User avatar
Gary350
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4914
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Curled leaves are typically caused by too much nitrogen. Too much nitrogen can be a problem when the weather turns very hot and there is not much rain, leaves will turn brown and die in hot dry weather. Too much nitrogen is a hard problem to solve. Flood the plants with water and they take in more nitrogen. Don't water at all does not alway help either. Your problem does not look to bad yet just wait it out, don't fertilized, and water.
Last edited by Gary350 on Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

RickNC
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:57 pm
Location: NC

Perhaps a fertilizer with low or no nitrogen would help? I know nitrogen should be kept low to prevent too much leaf growth. I tested the soil a few weeks ago and the nitrogen was not high. Maybe it's coming from the straw? If that is the case I could get rid of it and try plastic.

David Taylor
Cool Member
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:21 pm
Location: Crest California

Just thinking out loud here, but I was just reading somewhere, that if you mulch with straw, you should throw something like kelp meal or cottonseed meal into it, as the straw can suck up a lot of nitrogen from the soil. How about mulching with straw around the tomato plants until the leaves start looking happier?

My last thought is, unless there's a real deficiency of produce, mark it down as a lesson learned for next year, and leave it be for this season. You can worry things to death.

Ana
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:50 am

i got the same after my transplants the branches yellowed and fell off but all of them did fine afterward. A few other did the same after a sudden freeze, early in the season, not all where affected cause i covered them

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27739
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Can the upward leaf curling be just something some varieties do?
I have the same thing happening with my Lynn's Mahogany Garnet (open pollinated cross between Black Russian and Green Zebra). I worried initially, but they've been growing and fruiting... these 2 and the 2 Sugar Plums were protected with Wall-o-waters, and they are the earliest, sturdiest and healthiest of all my 20+ tomato plants. As you can see, the Sugar Plums are flat-leaved while LMG are all curly (They're planted 24" apart). Their growing conditions are exactly the same. They're growing in last year's sheet mulched Sunflower/Corn House and the soil is heavy clay after about 12" depth and the area stays soggy for a couple of days after heavy rain, so they ARE getting a bit overwatered.

Sugar Plum on Left, LMG on Right: [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4371.jpg[/img]
Sugar Plum on Left, LMG on Right: [img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4370.jpg[/img]

Hey, I'm glad I decided to post this, I noticed some streaking going on with the still green and small LMG fruits and was wondering if the curly leaves are finally getting to them. I forgot about the Green Zebra parentage. :D

I don't really think fertilizer is the issue here because what I did here was I left all the corn stalks and sunflower stalks piled in the beds over the winter, then this spring, piled some rough compost, grass clippings and weeds on top, then topped it off with bagged compost. The tomatoes were planted by plying apart a space between still undecomposed stalks. Only other nitrogen comes from root nodules of the clover planted in the center space of the "Sunflower House" as well as the clover growing on two sides on the outside. So a lot of tying up of nitrogen might be going on, but the way they're growing, these plants sure don't look like they're nitrogen deprived. 8)

RickNC
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:57 pm
Location: NC

Well my romas don't do this. It is only the two heirlooms and the beefsteaks with the heirlooms being the worse. The viens are purple and now it is starting to happen to the leaves all over the plant instead of just the lower ones.

My neighbor who struggled to get his garden going doesn't ever touch this plants and while they are smaller they don't do this. Mine are growing very fast and I keep them pruned to make them more orderly and they are producing tons of fruit.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27739
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

:lol: I noticed the difference between your well-pruned vines and mine! :lol:
LMG are determinate, and I only have 4 plants of them. I heard that you get more fruits if you don't prune determinates, so they're kind of an experiment. :wink: I am starting to cut away overlapping leaves/suckers, and I'll get more aggressive on the lower leaves if they show any sign of disease. Sugar Plums are indeterminate, so I'll be pruning them up as they grow.

Yours DO have a lot of flower clusters and fruits! But then, you're in NC, so it might be just a matter of waiting it out. They look quite healthy, too.

Since LMG is a cross between two heirlooms, maybe it IS a characteristic more often seen in heirloom varieties. :?:

RickNC
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:57 pm
Location: NC

Mine are red brandywine and cherokee purple. No idea if I should be pruning them or not. I removed every sucker off all the plants except for the very bottom one. My neighbors are very bushy since he doesn't do this. Maybe next year I won't prune them all.

valleytreeman
Senior Member
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Shenandoah Valley

Re: tomato leaf curl

rainbowgardener wrote: Or leaf curl can be caused by some plant viruses including tomato yellow leaf curl virus, tobacco mosaic virus or fusarium wilt, a fungal infection. But again in all those cases you would be seeing other symptoms--purple veins, stunted growth, dwarfing of leaves, yellowing of leaves.
'ello RainbowGardener I am experiencing the complete stunting of two plants with severe curling, whole plant stunting and purple veins when viewed friom the bottom side of the plant. The plants weren't set out in the garden till May 20 (we get late frosts) but had gotten a start before these symptoms developed. What has me flumoxed is that they are two different varieties in differnt rows and different positions in the row. The soil was amended with old cow/sheep manure. You mention several dideases above that may cause some or all of these symptoms.... does a light bulb come on for mine?
hey its me!

Treeman

myron26155
Full Member
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 6:01 pm
Location: Orlando

I am growing tomatoes this year in 5 gallon buckets using the "deep water culture" method which means the roots are always submerged in a nutrient solution with an airstone providing oxygen.
The one thing i have noticed is that when everything is going well the plants grow like crazy but if something goes wrong the plant reacts very fast and begin to show signs of stress.
About a month ago when i was waiting on my tds meter to be repaired i inadvertently made my nutrient solution a bit too strong and my plants reacted exactly like in your photos, the leaves curled and the plant went into shock.
The reason i am bringing this up is because it appears your plants are in some sort of nutrient shock or the ph of the soil may be too high or too low which is blocking nutrient and water uptake.
It may be worth it to buy a ph test kit to check the soil ph or maybe you could mix up a large bucket of water with a ph of 6-6.5 and drench the soil. The damaged leaves may take a while to respond.
The purple may be a sign of a nutrient deficiency due to the plant being locked, so adding it won't do much good until the root cause is addressed.

A foliar spray of 2 tablespoons of epsom salt per gallon may help temporarily. Be sure to apply neem oil or some other wetting agent to aid in absorbtion and make certain you apply it once the sun goes down.
I don't particularly like foliar feeding but if the roots are locked you will need to get food to the plants somehow.

Good luck.
My Tomato Growing Journal https://myron26155.shutterfly.com/

RickNC
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:57 pm
Location: NC

myron26155 wrote:I am growing tomatoes this year in 5 gallon buckets using the "deep water culture" method which means the roots are always submerged in a nutrient solution with an airstone providing oxygen.
The one thing i have noticed is that when everything is going well the plants grow like crazy but if something goes wrong the plant reacts very fast and begin to show signs of stress.
About a month ago when i was waiting on my tds meter to be repaired i inadvertently made my nutrient solution a bit too strong and my plants reacted exactly like in your photos, the leaves curled and the plant went into shock.
The reason i am bringing this up is because it appears your plants are in some sort of nutrient shock or the ph of the soil may be too high or too low which is blocking nutrient and water uptake.
It may be worth it to buy a ph test kit to check the soil ph or maybe you could mix up a large bucket of water with a ph of 6-6.5 and drench the soil. The damaged leaves may take a while to respond.
The purple may be a sign of a nutrient deficiency due to the plant being locked, so adding it won't do much good until the root cause is addressed.

A foliar spray of 2 tablespoons of epsom salt per gallon may help temporarily. Be sure to apply neem oil or some other wetting agent to aid in absorbtion and make certain you apply it once the sun goes down.
I don't particularly like foliar feeding but if the roots are locked you will need to get food to the plants somehow.

Good luck.
Was this in reference to me or someone else? I have tested my soil and everything was in line.

Gerrie
Senior Member
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:10 pm
Location: Southern Oregon

RickNC wrote:Mine are red brandywine and cherokee purple. No idea if I should be pruning them or not. I removed every sucker off all the plants except for the very bottom one. My neighbors are very bushy since he doesn't do this. Maybe next year I won't prune them all.
The leaf curl thing always affects my Brandywines too, but it clears up as the weather heats up (we're in the Pac. NW) I wonder if its a particular problem with that particular type? My other tomatoes-five other types- look great and the brandywines as usual are struggling at this time of yr.
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

User avatar
farmerlon
Green Thumb
Posts: 671
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

I thought this might be a good time to "resurrect" this thread, because I am noticing a lot of Leaf Curl on my Mortgage Lifter heirloom tomatoes? I have many other tomato varieties planted, and those all have a normal appearance.

This is the first year that I have grown Mortgage Lifter tomatoes... has anyone else found that they are prone to leaf curl?

Return to “TOMATO FORUM”