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Thank you to Pandy's Garden center for this information. It is very helpful. Many tomato plants are exhibiting stress from the weather and not doing great this year. Good 'ol Mother Nature strikes again.....
You just can't win all the time....many avid gardeners are bringing in leaf sample after leaf sample and asking what is happening to my tomatoes this year? Thanks to high humidity and extreme conditions of too hot and dry followed by flash floods, high humidity and cool nights, tomatoes in general are not doing well in certain parts of the county.
Many of my clients have brought me yellowing, black or grey spotted leaves and tomatoes with leather patches at the end of them which are ripening.
The problem is the weather breeding fungus diseases on these plants. Here are some symptoms of various diseases I have seen so far in a hope you can diagnose what's going on with your plants:
Fusarium Wilt- Lower leaves turn yellow, wilt and die, then upper shoots wilt and die. Eventually the whole plant can perish. Typically this problem starts out on one half of the plant and then carries to the other side. When cutting stem lengthwise 1/8" down under the soil level, a dark brown part of the tissue of the plant is viewible. This disease lays dormant in contaminated soil, plants, seed or equipment and no spray is available to stop it. Destroy plants that are infected and rotate your crops the next year. Do not plant in same area. Buy plants which are resistant to this disease next season.
Late Blight- Bluish gray water soaked patches appear on leaves during humid days. A white downy mold grows on surface of leaves causing leaves to dry, shrivel and turn brown and die. Spots can appear on fruit as well.
This disease can attack potatoes as well. Spores can lay dormant in tubers of potatoes or the compost pile all year. When conditions are right, they attack and cause defoliation of plants. If you have this problem, spray as soon as you see it start with Bonide brand Fungonil. Most of the time, unless you catch it early, a spray is ineffective.
Blossom end rot- A round sunken water soaked spot develops on the bottom of the fruit. It enlarges, turns brown to black and feel leathery to the touch. Mold may grow on surface.
This disease can occur on peppers squash and watermelons as well. A calcium deficiency is part of the problem so add lime to your area of the garden where you intend to plant these items. More so than that, an extreme fluctuation in soil moisture is to blame. After hot days in the sun causing very dry soil condition followed by water logged soil can cause this problem as well. Too much fertilizer being applied and an excessive build-up of salts is to blame as well. Try to maintain an even soil moisture on plant and do NOT use a high nitrogen fertilizer or fresh manure on plants. Bonide does offer a spray to help call "Rot-Stop". Simply spray on your plant and extra calcium gets absorbed into your leaves and blossom and helps to correct this issue on the balance of your fruit.
I also have had a ton of clients bringing in Maple leaves this week with spots randomly placed on leaves of their tree, These spots resemble tar. Thus the name of the disease is tar spot. No spray is available for a cure and trees will not be harmed by these spots... The best defense against this is to rake up leaves and discard in fall. It seems in spring, microscopic spores float up from the ground and attach themselves to leaves. During August the disease matures into black spots.....
When in doubt, get it checked out. Bring samples of problems you have into Pandy's. We all can help you find out what's going on with your plants. Thanks for reading. See you in the garden. -J.R. Pandy, The "No B.S. Gardener".
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Hi! My name is Becky and I am a master gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.