One of the problems with tomatoes is that there are a number of different issues that can strike at any moment. Furthermore, some of these issues can be deadly to the plant and will result in you finding it very difficult to go ahead and have a wonderful harvest of tomatoes. However, one of the best ways to counteract these problems is to be aware of them in advance. Not only will this allow you to take the appropriate action if you see the problems developing, but it may very well help you to stop them even before they have had an opportunity to take hold.
So, that being said, these are seen as being the most common problems to affect tomatoes.
1. Early Blight.
Early blight is characterized by some brown spots appearing on the older leaves on the plant. Eventually the leaves will turn yellow and then brown and fall off and it is all caused by a fungus that can survive in soil for extended periods of time. You may wish to consider using a fungicide in order to tackle the problem.
2. Late Blight.
Late blight is another type of fungus and it often appears as gray mold on the underside of the leaves after a damp period of weather. The fungus will eventually turn black and increasing the temperature and drying the plant out will help to prevent the fungus from spreading any further.
3. Powdery Mildew.
Powdery mildew makes the leaves of your plant appear as if it has been brushed over with white powder. There can also be spots on the leaves and eventually it will turn the leaves brown and kill the plant. This is often caused by a lack of air circulating or the humidity is too high which is why it is more common in a greenhouse. Use a spray designed to help this problem to prevent it from happening.
4. Damping Off.
Damping off is something that tends to affect seedlings and it is where they have just burst through and then droop and die. It is caused by a fungus that attacks the young plants and they occur due to the soil being too wet for extended periods of time. Be careful with your watering and it should no longer be such an issue.
5. Fusarium Wilt.
Fusarium wilt is strange in that your plant starts off looking great and then one side of it just starts to wilt for no apparent reason. However, the other side then starts to follow suit and even though you feel it is caused by the plant being too dry it does not react to water and the plant dies in next to no time. This is caused by a major fungus that attacks the very core of the plant and the best way to tackle this issue is to consider growing only variants that are resistant to the disease.
6. Mosaic Virus.
Mosaic viruses actually cover 20 different infections that result in a mosaic pattern appearing on the plant. The fruit will become marbled and leaves will also be affected and it is often caused by tomatoes growing later in the growing season than normal. There is nothing that can be done apart from removing the plant.
7. Verticillium Wilt.
Verticillium wilt is spotted by the leaves of the plant turning yellow followed by the veins of the leaf turning brown. The disease can inhibit the growth of the plant and it is caused by a fungus in the soil that then travels up the plant. Unfortunately, you cannot really do anything with this issue apart from remove the plant and just never use that soil again.
8. Blossom End Rot.
Blossom end rot is easy to spot on a tomato as a black patch will start to appear on the base of the fruit next to where the flower part drops off. The fruit is then inedible and it is caused by a general lack of calcium or else the soil that you are using is too low when it comes to its pH. In addition, if you are erratic with your watering then it can also lead to the problem developing. Increase the calcium to stop it from happening again.
This sounds bizarre and that is because it is. Catfacing is where the tomato becomes deformed and the blossom part appears to have lumps. This is attributed to the plant being pollinated when the temperatures are too low and the blossom has not quite dropped off before the pollination process has begun. Keep an eye on the temperature at night to stop this from becoming an issue.
The problem with puffiness is that the tomato looks absolutely fine until you cut it open and there are spaces inside. However, the tomato may feel lighter and this problem is caused by it not receiving enough feeding throughout its growing phase. Consider using a balanced fertilizer in order to combat the problem.
11. Bacterial Canker.
This sounds horrible and, to be honest it is. You can spot this disease by the way in which it starts off with yellow spots on the skin and these spots then have a dark rim. This is caused by a bacteria in the soil and the only thing you can do is remove both the plant and the soil to stop other plants from being infected.
This is something that you may not have heard of, but anthracnose is a common problem that involves a dark circle like a bulls eye appearing on the bottom of the tomato. If you then cut the tomato it will be black just under this spot. This is caused by a fungus and you have to make sure that you water the roots and not the leaves and then harvest as soon as tomatoes are ripe.
13. Peck & Spot.
Peck and spot are two bacterial infections that are extremely aggressive and the only thing that you can do is remove the plant immediately or it will spread in next to no time. It can be spread through damp conditions and you can identify it because of the black spots on the fruit and how the fruit is then distorted.
14. Leaf Roll.
Leaf Roll is when mature tomato plants show signs of their leaves starting to roll up with the main focus being on those leaves near the bottom. It is caused by high temperatures and too much water but the most important thing is that it will not actually affect the tomatoes.
15. Septoria Leaf Spot.
This disease is spotted after fruit has started to appear on the plant as the lower leaves will begin to turn yellow. The leaves will eventually turn black and will then fall off and this is caused by a fungus that attacks the leaves of the plant. To avoid this, never water the plant from the top and keep the leaves dry. A fungicide is also going to be useful.
16. Viral Diseases.
With viral diseases you will often spot black marks on the tomato or stripes appearing on the skin. This is generally caused by a tomato that is stressed due to the conditions not being right for them so check the watering, feeding, light, and heat situation to prevent this from occurring.
Aphids are small insects that destroy plants and they can also spread viruses that can ultimately prove to be a disaster. They are also known as plant lice and you can either wipe them off or spray them with a watered down soapy solution in order to remove them.
Cutworms are the larvae of moths and they come out at night and eat through leaves and the stem of seedlings. They basically eat through the plant resulting in it dying in a short period of time. To stop them, make a paper collar to go around the stem of the plant as this acts as a barrier for them.
19. Flea Beetles.
Flea beetles are not only small, but they are also very destructive. They will chew holes in the leaves with them left like a skeleton of veins if left untreated. Organic sprays will help to remove the problem but you do need to check on the underside of the leaves for signs of them.
Hornworms have the ability to destroy a tomato plant in a single night with a preference for the leaves of the tomato plant that they will happily munch on throughout the evening. You might want to use a caterpillar killer or plant marigolds around the base of the tomato plant to stop them from getting to the stem.
Fruitworms will burrow their way into the fruit from the stem side and basically eat it which means you are unable to. They can be seen by the naked eye and to remove them you should use an organic pesticide.
Nematodes infect the root as they feed off the nutrients that are in the roots. The plants will turn yellow and their growth will be stunted and the only thing that you should do is remove the plant to prevent it affecting other plants that you are growing.
Stinkbugs have the ability to effective suck the juice out of the tomato and they can either be seen on the skin or you could see the yellow spots on the side of the tomato. To stop them in their tracks you can use a stinkbug trap that draws them to the trap rather than towards your tomato plants.
24. Snails & Slugs.
When it comes to pests that can attack tomatoes then snails and slugs are extremely common. They will munch their way through any part of the plant and destroy everything in their wake while also leaving a slimy trail behind them. Use organic snail pellets to stop them in their tracks without damaging the plant or the fruit.
A whitefly infestation will result in the sap being sucked out of the leaves with the plant then wilting and dying. Any new growth will also become deformed and you have to pay close attention to the underside of the leaves as that is where they will generally form. Consider spraying underneath the leaves to remove the whitefly from the plant.
26. Spider Mites.
Even though they are difficult to spot, spider mites will suck the juice out of the leaves and stem with the result being that the leaves look bronze in color and the actual structure of the plant has also been affected. You can use organic remedies to help counteract this issue and they can be sprayed onto the plant.
27. Fruit Cracking.
This is easy to explain as it is when cracks appear on the tomato before it is fully ripen. This is caused by hot weather followed by the plants drying out and then being hit with a lot of water. The tomato is thirsty so soaks up too much water resulting in the tomato expanding and cracking. Water your tomatoes on a regular basis to avoid this.
With this, the tomato appears to be normal until it starts to ripen. However, yellow patches start to appear on the red and they then turn white and become too thin and this then alters the taste. It is caused by the sun scalding the tomato (hence the name) and the best approach is to avoid over pruning things so the leaves give some natural shade.
29. Blossom Drop.
In the case of blossom drop, you know when this is the issue after spotting that the flowers appear and then drop off without any tomatoes. This is related to an erratic temperature and if the night temperatures drop below 55F on a regular basis then this problem will occur. Make sure that the plant is strong and if possible move it indoors or add a heater.
30. Fruit Cracks.
Fruit cracks are caused by the tomato being exposed to variations in soil moisture levels. The changes between dry and wet inhibits the growth of the tomato leading to cracks appearing in the skin. This is because fast changes in the moisture content results in the skin growing more slowly than the fruit with the skin then becoming damaged. Make sure that you water on a regular basis to prevent this from happening.
31. Poor Fruit Set.
When it comes to poor fruit set, what you have is some flowers and small tomatoes that are also pretty bland and lacking in taste. This is often the result of too much nitrogen as that encourages a healthy plant but not enough flowers and of course this also means less tomatoes. It may also be caused by having too many tomatoes too close together so space them out more.