Beethenovicegardener
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PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

hello! This is my first year planting vegetables in my back yard so I'm definitely a beginner and can use any advice you can give. I am Southern California zone 11? I think.. The first plant I bought at lowes was this indigo rose tomato plant. It's been doing great, the fruit is getting big and most of the blossoms have been turning into fruit but I have been noticing small translucent spots on some of the leaves. Is this some type of fungus or a pest problem? Pics below and thanks in advance for your help
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rainbowgardener
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

It might be just sunscald. Sometimes if you have water droplets on the leaves and the sun hits them, it acts like a magnifying glass and makes little sunburn spots like that. You are better off to just water the soil not the leaves anyway.

If that is what it is, the burned spots won't heal, but it won't spread and if you don't get water on the leaves, you won't keep getting more.
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Beethenovicegardener
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

thanks so much for your response! Well after reading your response I looked up some pictures of sunscald and looks like that was the problem, but earlier in kind of a panic to save my plant i removed many of the damaged leaves :oops: , will this be a problem? Also some of the leaves near the bottom of the plant by the soil have holes in them, these are in the shade of the plant though, could this be a different problem? TIA!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

Depends on how many of the leaves you removed. The tomatoes benefit from shade of the leaves and of course the leaves are how the plant collects energy. So if you took a significant portion off, it could cause problem, but if just a few, it will be fine.

Holes would be something different, more likely insects or slugs chewing on the leaves.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

In my experience, they can really take a large pruning! I've had to prune more that 50% off of some plants without noticeably affecting them, so I think yours will be fine.

Black tomatoes like that have an easier time using the sunlight than regular lighter leaved cultivars, so they can handle a heavier pruning. The black antho gene (that's what makes those tomatoes black, acts as protection against sunscald, and they will get even DARKER, or more unifomly darker with increased sun! Now if you prune off all the leaves on a better boy and the fruits are exposed, they will likely get sunscald! Not so (or not as much) with the antho varieties!

Sometimes it's hard to determine what spots are. My rule of thumb is, if it's yellow, or ugly, it's getting pruned. Pruning the bottom leaves off is pretty good practice here where preventative treatment for fungal issues is the name of the game. That usually mean heavy lower pruning.
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xtgold
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

I didn't know that lowes sold indigo rose,I will have to check my local stores.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

Yeah! I found one 2 years ago at our Lowe's. Bonnie was the grower. Seems like they are definitely increasing their varieties.
Lindsay
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Beethenovicegardener
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

Thanks again for your responses! After spending the last two days obsessing over what was ailing my tomato plant (besides some sunburn 8) ) I came to the conclusion it was tomato worms because my husband and I noticed small droppings on the leaves. Sure enough after moving my plant to the shade this afternoon I found EIGHT little baby green tomato worms :evil: they are taking a soap bath now haha! Hopefully they didn't cause too much damage to the plant and it will begin to thrive again now that the little buggers are gone.

What is the most recommended method to keep tomato worms at bay? TIA!

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

Well, honey, did you ask the right place, or what?!!!

It's kind of lengthy, but here is my hornworm adventure:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 79&t=58439

There may or may not be a separate hornworm thread that we started. Lots of experimenting.
Lindsay
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rainbowgardener
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

If you use the search box top left, you will find tons here about tomato hornworms.

But to start with we need to ID your culprit. There are a variety of caterpillars that attack tomatoes - tomato and tobacco hornworms, but also tomato fruitworms (aka corn earworms), and in the warm areas like where Bee lives also tomato pinworms.

Can you get a picture of your beasties? Be sure to let us know how big they are (which can sometimes be difficult to tell from a picture); the pinworms are very small.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

Army worms too! They tend to show up in "armies." Several of them together! I usually find 30-40 eggs plastered to the backs of tomatoe leaves.
Lindsay
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Beethenovicegardener
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

Thanks lindsay for the info on tomato worms! I'll definitely be reading that thread, its crazy how much I have learned about worms in the last few days :shock: ! haha! I'm going to be dreaming about tomato worms :>

Well they were small little green guys, the first two were a little bigger then the others I found under the leaves, those were tiny little guys.The bigger ones were about the size of a match stick give or take. I caught one of them in the act of eating a little baby tomato :( but I plucked them all off and they shot out gross green stuff (luckily I was wearing gloves) and soaked them in soapy water. My husband got a picture of one of them, but its pretty blurry. I'm gonna share anyways to see what you guys think. Hopefully you guys can help with IDing these menaces!

Also I've checked my plant (which by the way my four year old son named Tommy haha!) and I haven't seen anymore worms, hopefully I got them all. Luckily most of my tomatoes seemed to have been spared! They only seemed to be eating the leaves, could some of the tomatoes be damaged with out my being able to see it?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

The picture is blurry and it doesn't enlarge, but I don't think it is hornworm. They usually do not arch like that.

It might be a looper. We call them cabbage loopers or alfalfa loopers, but they feed on many things including tomato plants. They are leaf eaters and don't attack the fruit.

Cabbage looper:
Image

Check for the two pair of "pro-legs" in the middle.

If it is this, it is one of the less destructive pests, will not decimate your plants like hornworms can.

In the long run, what you need is a functioning eco-system in your yard. There are a variety of tiny stingless wasps that parasitize them (as well as hornworms). You can invite these into your yard by growing flowers that have nectar in tiny florets. This includes all the carrot family things (dill, fennel, parsley etc) when allowed to bloom, as well as buckwheat, alyssum, yarrow, marigold, white clover, anise hyssop, and others.

In the short term, if it seems like they are doing serious damage, you can get Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) from a garden store. It is a disease that attacks various caterpillars and nothing else, is relatively harmless in your garden (but note it will infect butterfly caterpillars as well).
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

Agree with everything! Including that's not a hornworm. Oooooh but they will come to make tasty snacks out of your hard work!

I got so frustrated with caterpillars in general, that I nearly just bombed my whole garden. I hand picked daily! And ever day there were more, and they do SO much damage, so sand FAST! Now, I can spot caterpillar poop from a 10 foot distance, and I'm on like donkey kong!!!

Now! If those wee beasties have rice looking stuff hanging off their backs, or it looks like they've puked all over the place they're sitting, leave them be. Their hosting friends! Friends that will DEVOUR THEM FROM WITHIN THEIR PRIZE WINNING TOMATO FILLED GUTS!!!!!! MWAAAAAHAHAHAHA!

I hate those little effers.
Lindsay
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xtgold
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

I went to 3 lowes stores,2 out of the 3 had indigo rose (1 tray worth)
One store the plants were kind of puny but I bought 2 anyway.
The other store had more robust plants and I got 2 more there.
As the season progresses I may take cuttings to clone.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

It *should* grow true to seed. It's an open pollinated cultivar. No cloning required. Just save seeds!
Lindsay
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xtgold
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

cloning is faster for this years enjoyment.
I can turn 4 plants into 8 or whatever for this season.
I let the suckers grow long and use them as clone material.

xtgold
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

I went back to one of the lowes today and they were all sold out of the indigo rose.
I should have grabbed more yesterday.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

You should check the clearance section. I know they start pulling them off shelves soon.
Lindsay
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

Beethenovicegardener
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Re: PLEASE need help to identify tomato problem!

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone's advice my tomato plant has survived! I used a pesticide (I know not the best but I was desperate to see these little jerks gone) and hand removed all the worms from the plant. We now have been eating our tomatoes for a few weeks! They are delicious and more and more keep flowering and growing. Thanks for your help fellow gardeners! :)



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