Growing tomato plants is highly rewarding for gardeners because well cared for plants will produce an abundance of tasty fruit for quite a long period of time. However, both beginners and experts alike will find that some tomato plant problems are quite persistent and need to be dealt with in a specific way. Tomato diseases can be fatal when left untreated, so it is important to recognize and manage each disease quickly.
Early Blight affects the stems, fruits and foliage of the the plant. It is distinguished by dark spots, usually appearing first on the oldest leaves. The remainder of the leaf can become discolored and yellow, causing the the fruit to become scalded by the sun. To solve this issue, remove the affected plants away from the rest and spray with a copper or sulfur spray to stop the fungus developing any further.
Grey Leaf Spot
Grey Leaf Spot only affects the tomato’s leaves, again, starting with the oldest. Little, dark patches can be seen on both the top and bottom of the leaves. These spots will then get wider and turn gray in color. After this, the center of these spots fall out, leaving holes in the plant’s leaves. This disease can be avoided by choosing a resistant variety.
Southern Blight is a disease that appears as a pale mold developing on the lower section of the plant’s stem. Dark spots then appear on the lower part of the stem. This prevents the stem from taking water and nutrients to the rest of the plant. If this happens to a very young plant, the stem may even break at the affected area. Evidence shows that this disease can be prevented by rotating your plants around and using fertilizers with ammonium content.
Aphids are a very common pest. They are very small in size and tend to be green or black. They gather on the underside of leaves or along stems. Because they are a sucking insect, they cause leaves to become curled and distorted. Small infestations can be quickly blasted away with water or pruned off. Another option is to apply insecticide products locally to the plant.
Blister beetles are black or striped beetles that eat the plant’s leaves. You can usually see them later in the season, around July and August. They can be hand-picked from the plant, but be sure to protect your hands with gloves as they let out a caustic fluid to defend themselves. You can also control them with chemicals such as pyrethrins.
Grasshoppers are a great problem as they eat almost any plant. A good way to stop them from eating your plants is to use grasshopper bait. There are many kinds of bait available and it is always better to choose one that is not harmful to anything else in your garden, such as wild animals and birds, as well as humans too!
As long as you check your tomato plants regularly, they should grow healthy and problem free.