By Gini 1
My hanging tomatoes are looking good, but some of the leaves are yellowing. What am I doing wrong?
Hardiness Zone: 10b
By Gini from Carmel, CA
I have trouble every year with the leaves turning yellow on my plants. This is even before the tomatoes grow or turn red. What causes this and how do I get ready for next year to stop this.
I would almost bet money that you are a smoker...or whoever plants or takes care of the tomatoes is a smoker!!! Right? When I quit smoking, one of the MANY pluses was that the tomato plants were much healthier. The nicotine is killing them. (06/28/2005)
By Margie Minard
Try cutting back on the amount of water you are putting on your plants.
Have you had your soil tested? Sounds like your soil might be to acid and needs a little lime. Spread lime around, not on plant and gently work into the soil and water lightly. (06/29/2005)
Well now you loose that bet. I am not a smoker but i do get tired of everything being blamed on smoking. If that is the case then our tomatoes are in grave danger. Thanks for the tip about the acid. I will get the soil tested to make sure to see if we need to add something. This is top soil and we do not water as we have enough rain to take care of that. Thanks... (06/29/2005)
You might want to do a search on Tobacco Mosaic Virus before dismissing the information offered. Since you're not a smoker, it would be worth it to do a soil analysis checking for high acidity and magnesium deficiency. (07/10/2005)
Try mixing some epsom salts with water and apply to soil. Your soil probably lacks magnesium. (07/25/2005)
Link to site of origin is at end of excerpt:
Q. I planted the tomato varieties which you recommended and they are loaded with tomatoes. Now the leaves are beginning to turn yellow, then brown, then die from the bottom of the plant. What should I do; will this kill my plants?
A. You and everybody growing tomatoes are having the same problem. Tomato plants are developing brown spots on the lower foliage. This is the result of a fungus infecting the foliage causing a disease known as early blight. Early blight is an annual problem for most gardeners. It normally develops into a problem when plants have a heavy fruit set and the area has received rainfall. Spores from the fungus are spread to the lower foliage by wind and splashing rain. Leaves must be wet for infection to occur. At 50 degrees F. the leaves must be wet for 12 hours for infection, but at temperatures above 59 degrees F., the length of time for infection is only 3 hours. Leaf spot development is most severe during periods of cloudy days and high humidity. To control the fungus, foliage applications of a fungicide must be made every 7 days until moist conditions (dew included!) no longer exist. Applications should begin when the first fruit is slightly larger than a quarter. Chlorothalonil (Ortho Multipurpose Fungicide or Fertilome Broad Spectrum Fungicide) and mancozeb hydroxide (Kocide 101) are fungicides used on tomatoes for early blight. The copper fungicides also are affective against the foliage and fruit-infecting bacterial pathogens. Benlate (Greenlight Systemic Fungicide) should also be added every second spray application to prevent Septoria leaf spot. All listed fungicides can be mixed with insecticides or other fungicides except the copper-based materials (Kocide). The copper fungicides have a high pH which will reduce the life of many insecticides and some fungicides. Kocide is the only effective organic control for this pestilence.
<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=50223695" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: Tomato Plants with Yellow Leaves">
I've read everyones complaints about the leaves on their tomatoe plants turning yellow and then brown and falling off. It has nothing to do with smoking, it is a disease of the plant called blight. You can prevent by spraying certain chemicals on your plants and i was also told at a nursery that you can use Dawn dishwahing liquid diluted in water also to spray onto your plants. But you have to do it early in the season. Also, try rotating your crop to a different spot. I've had this problem for the past 3 yrs. This year i moved my plants, used raised beds, and started off with new soil. So far, so good.. (07/02/2007)
Every year is the same problem you just deal with it. I pinch off the yellowed leaves and usually have no problems after that. My fruit is growing healthy and I will be very excited for a fresh crop. WARNING: do not use the same soil for tomatoes back to back. You need to give it a year break or disease can infest your plants same goes with potatoes. (07/04/2007)
I think it is funny that smoking is blamed on yellow leaves. Are you all aware that tomatoes have nicotine in them naturally? (07/04/2007)
Stick a rusty nail a half an inch away from the stem in the soil. Water as you usually would. It works. Strange but true. My uncle heard this from some book on organic gardening. It worked on his plants, try it let us know if it works for you too. (07/06/2007)
What causes yellow leaves on tomato plants?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
Phyllis from North Tonawanda NY
I moved my plants changed the brand I usually plant (from Jet Star to Jet Setter) and I still get it though NOT as BAD! Last year I was done growing tomatoes in AUG. The plants all wilted, this year I pick a few branches here and there and cross my fingers! Biggest prob close planting=cool soil and high humidity plus contact between infected plants. (07/12/2007)
Lack of nitrogen? Pinch off the yellow leaves for starters, and give your plants a good a dose of tomato food (follow the directions)....I think that will do the trick. Then feed regularly until you have harvested the fruit. Tomatoes deplete the nutrients in their soil very quickly, they need a good feed, and regularly. Good Luck
I planted Basil around the tomatoes and have NOT a single problem with yellowing or bugs. It was recommended by Jerry Blake.com and WORKS. Also, I do NOT stake them or put them in a cage. I found a special TALL wooden shipping crate shell and tied thick strings from the top, dropping them down to tie gently around each stalk, just as was suggested and that works, too. They don't like to be staked or around metal. Don't know why. My tomatoes and ALL plants in the city have suffered some specks of mold from too much rain, but it washes off and I use a tiny amt. of bleach on them to clean it. Also, don't let too many leave grow per stem, about 4-5 only, so the plant can concentrate on making blooms/fruit. It's the VERY first time I've EVER been able to grow tomatoes on this property without tons of problems. Now I will use that sheer curtain wrapped shipping crate, or one like it, forever! It allows just the right amount of light, and rain into the plant/pot. God bless you. :) (07/15/2007)
Why are the leaves on my tomato plants turning yellow and the flowers will not set?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
Dorene from Tonawanda, NY
I just learn this past weekend from a gardening program on the radio from a tomato expert that the reason why the leaves turn yellow is when the tomatoes start to turn red and ripen they release ethylene gas which causes a leaves to turn yellow (07/31/2007)
Now this may sound bizarre, yet one evening I watched a gardening program, where cigarettes were added to the soil! I tried this, as up until that point my plants were slow to grow and dying down the bottom of the plant, so I planted about 20 butts from my father: ash, filter and all, in each of my potted plants, at first I really thought I had killed them, they had an immediate reaction, the already sick bottom leaves died off yet then each of the plants sprouted, growing 30 cm in a couple of weeks and their fruit are plump and healthy. The sickly leaf condition hasn't reappeared and I have found one benefit to my father's chain smoking so I am happy.
Hardiness Zone: 10a
mitch914 from South Texas
Many insect and disease problems cause yellow leaves on a tomato plant. The problem could be cultural: too much water, not enough water, poor drainage, not enough sun, wrong ambient temperature, leaf scorch caused by dry, hot conditions following cloudy moist conditions (this can cause a sudden water loss in the outer portion of the leaves) or a build-up of salts from fertilizer.
It is hard for me to tell from your picture, but are any of the lower leaves turning yellow, or is it just the newer leaves? Do the leaves contain spots or rings? Do any of the following "yellow leaf" symptoms sound familiar?
Yellow or pale colored leaves: This could be caused by a nutrient deficiency. Here are some common symptoms:
Yellow patches on leaves that contain brown concentrically ringed spots: This could be a sign of early blight. Spray copper or bordeaux mixture and repeat every 7-10 days.
Older leaves yellow; shoots (or whole plant) wilts: This could be Fusarium or Verticillium wilt. These two fungal diseases both begin with the wilting of lower leaves. The plants are stunted and do not recover when watered. When cut open, stems and shoots will show some internal discoloration. Toss affected plant and replace them with disease resistant varieties and new soil.
Leaves are yellow (may contain brown spots); leaves are also distorted and sticky: This could be a possible aphid or white fly infestation. Look for small sap-sucking insects (green, black, white, or pink in color) on the undersides of leaves and traces of honeydew on the leaves (sticky substance). Insects may also fly away when disturbed. Spray plants with a strong jet of water or insecticidal soap to remove.
Leaves are yellow; the plant is stunted and eventually wilts in hot weather: This could be a sign of Root Knot Nematode damage. Plants will have swollen galls on roots and eventually die. This is not as common in plants grown in new commercial potting soil.
Leaves mottled yellow; young growth appears narrow and twisted: This is most likely tobacco virus. Plants should be destroyed and replaced with a disease resistant variety planted in new soil.
Leaves speckled with yellow dots; fine webbing on leaves: Most likely spider mites. Spray them off with a strong stream of water from the garden hose, or use insecticidal soap.
I hope these ideas help!
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Might be lack of magnesium or iron.
About cigarette butts, NO!
It's true that nicotine can be used to fight certain problems in the garden in liquid form, but it is poisonous, and can be absorbed through the skin.
Cigarettes contain nicotine which is probably why it was helpful. However, tobacco can carry a virus (not saying that it will, but it can), that will wipe out your tomatoes. So you are taking a risk getting the nicotine in that form. If you use the liquid form, don't let children/pets near plants and keep it safely put up.
YES! CIGARETTES WORK! I know it sounds awful, but it is true. I also heard this on a gardening radio show. I tried this, i purchased a pack of cigarettes and broke them up and put into the dirt around 2 of my 8 plants. YES, THEY GREW LIKE CRAZY. Try it. I'm not sure if it will correct the yellowing (which I've always had happen when I don't water on a strict schedule, avoiding over watering and under watering), but you can have a little fun watching the difference in your plants! Good luck to you! (03/03/2008)
This actually looks like nematode damage. They are microscopic "worms" that feed on the roots. That may be why some people are saying to put cigarettes in the soil because that might just work, but tobacco can carry mosaic virus and is sprayed with many, various pesticides - not something you want on your tomato plants. Try growing them in a container with potting soil and see if the same thing happens. (03/04/2008)
I am an agriculture student and we are doing a study right now with nemetodes and the new growth turning yellow looks just like nemtode damage. When older growth turning yellow is another problem, could be nutrient or the early stages of fusarium or verticillium wilt. Both are soil born problems that really can't be fixed except to grow your tomatoes in containers with sterile potting soil. (03/06/2008)
I started my tomato plants from seed and they all have germinated within 10 days like they have for the last couple of years, BUT the leaves have turned yellow and i don't know why. i don't smoke, water them regularly keep them in a warm, dry place and they have at least 7 hours of artificial light every day. Anyone have any suggestions?
Editor's Note Yellow leaves is often caused by too much watering. (03/29/2008)
My problem is that our tomato leaves are turning yellowish brown around the edges. Also on some of them the tops have died out. They are not looking like they are going to survive. What is causing this and what can I do about it? We have them in a bed in our back yard close to the garage. We have had tomatoes in this spot for several years now but have never had this problem.
The plants we bought from a local store, but am not sure where they are actually from. We also have some plants that we got from friends and they started theirs from seed. They are doing the same thing. Can anyone help here? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Hardiness Zone: 6a
Evelyn from St. Maries, Idaho
I have read other posts, above. Hate to tell you, but I have been gardening for more years than I would like to admit, and I have never seen so much yellowing of lower leaves of tomatoes and bell peppers. Am not aware of excess watering. Also, my son is having the exact same symptoms in his garden almost fifty miles away, and a friend across town is having the same problem in his garden. If our rainfall has been more than usual, it is only because we have had a drought in this area (Caddo Parish, Louisiana) for at least twelve out of the past 15 years. Even dog weed trees in the forest in this area have died in increasing numbers, especially when two to three drought summers come in succession. But, getting back to tomatoes and bell pepper, some of my plants are in large planting containers I filled with commercial potting mix, while some are planted in the soil of the garden, with which I mixed commercial mulch. My son's garden is in soil to which nothing has been added.
Leaves first turn yellow and then eventually go brown and dry. The tomatoes themselves seem not to be affected. My experience has been that over watering causes tomatoes to tend to split, which is not occurring. I will consult the Louisiana Agricultural Extension office here and, if I have something worthwhile to share, will let you know. Something is going on. Afraid to guess what. Gil (06/26/2008)
Never put cigarette butts in a garden. This can cause tomato tobacco mosaic virus. Donna Adams, Master Gardener. (07/04/2008)
By Donna Adams
Recognizing Tomato Problems:
By Bo Weevil
I have twelve plants. My soil is fine, I am an ex-smoker, but no cigs around my plants. I have two plants that are yellowish, but they are still growing strong. I have found that if I just keep cutting off the ones that are turning brown, the plant keeps growing bigger. (07/14/2008)
I have replaced my tomato plants with new ones, and now they are stunted and the leaves at the bottom are turning yellow on the new plants. There is too much water, we are in monsoon season. I bought some fish emulsion and spray with dish detergent to fight bugs off. I am using a straw bale bed and Walmart brand soils in a bag, not the best I know but I am no gardener, just thought I'd try something new. The Mexican Sunflower likes the soil a lot and is taking off. Everything else is sluggish. Mid July and the tomato plants are not a foot high. (07/20/2008)
By K Forrest, Santa Fe, NM
<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=65100099" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: Tomato Plants with Yellow Leaves">
Well, you all have given me lots to think about. I am a new gardener, this will be my 2nd year of trying. Last year I had no problem, but this year I got yellow leaves and I guess next year I will dig up a new patch of ground to plant in. I am worried about so many of us having the same problem, the only thing we all have the same of is the sun. From the sounds of it, this is a problem all over the US. I know this is not the pumpkin site but my pumpkins leaves have turned yellow also. Wonder if its from the same thing. (07/29/2008)
3 years ago I started throwing cigarette buts into my garden to ward off bugs. The lady bugs and worms have stayed and the aphids and flies have all but disappeared. For the last year no yellowing of leaves (not that yellow leaves ever hurt the fruit). On the rust thing, I used some rusty metal rods that I happened across as supports for some plants. The plants closest to the area where rusty metal touches the ground, are almost twice as productive to the plants supported by wood. (08/14/2008)
Has anyone had any problems with tomato leaves turning yellowish-brown and dying? Its growth seems to be stunted too. Thanks for any help.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By denjoy2005 from TX
You planted a variety that wasn't disease resistant and it has become a common occurrence in tomatoes and this problem doesn't seem to have an answer except make sure that after the name of the tomato you see 4 or 5 letters representing the different strains of virus it is protected against. Parks seed has one that has 5 in southern GA I get that and then no promises. Last year we had 45 plants full grown and full of tomatoes and one day they are fine and the next day dead. (04/10/2009)
If these are container tomato plants, you might be washing the iron and other mineral contents out of the soil. There are many products you can get at the garden center. Mine looks like liquid rust. Just checked today to see if I have for the summer. Once I quite container planting the tomatoes, the problem stopped. Do you give your tomatoes Epsom salts? Get a package on the instructions are on it. Magnesium sulfate is very important for the tomato at time of blossoming. And other plants with blossoms too. (04/13/2009)
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I have a small greenhouse that I start over 400 tomato plants in for sale. This spring we have had some pretty nasty weather and some warm days, too. Since I have transplanted all the plants into 3.5 inch pots, some are doing great and some are turning yellow and their growth seems to be stunted.
Although I am a smoker, I always wash my hands and wear disposable gloves every time I transplant my plants. I have only 2 or 3 weeks before I'll start to sell my plants and I want to make sure they are the best around, as they usually are. I have repeat customers that rely on my quality plants. My greenhouse pots are all new and my soil is MiracleGro potting mix.
Could I have over watered them? The greenhouse gets up to about anywhere from 60-100 degrees during the day and at night I use 4/100 watt bulbs to keep them warm. Sometimes I've had to cover them with sheets of white plastic so they don't get too cold. I am sending pictures of a good plant and some yellowing plants. I was thinking of re-transplanting the yellow ones, but that's probably 60 plants. Please help me.
Hardiness Zone: 4a
By motheroneil from Sheridan, WY
Some tomato plants nearly shut down in high heat. They might fare a lot better out in the open than in the greenhouse since it gets so hot in there in the daytime. (05/07/2009)
What would make my tomato plant's leaves turn yellow?
Hardiness Zone: 10b
By bbarbara737 from Hollywood, FL
I would guess not enough water. (06/02/2009)
Generally it's a nitrogen deficiency. (06/02/2009)
Why do my tomato plants leaves turn yellow?
Hardiness Zone: 10a
By Weston from Palmdale, CA
You should try crushed egg shells around the plant! The calcium soaks in and helps the tomato plant. (06/16/2009)
I've read that the reason they turn yellow is because the soil doesn't have enough nitrogen which is what makes the plant green.
If you use some good fertilizer on it like Miracle Grow that should fix it. Hope this helps. (06/17/2009)
Get Epsom salts, I read that it is a magnesium deficiency. I followed the directions on the back of the bag and the leaves have quit turning yellow. (06/17/2009)
It depends upon how they are turning yellow. See this page for excellent information on common problems and their solutions:
I purchased a Roma tomato plant that is about 12 inches high. It had thick, green foliage Memorial Day weekend. It is on my deck and now some of the leaves are turning yellow and brown and curling, mostly on the bottom. It looks like they are dying in places.
My daughter and neighbor said it is getting too much water. We have had quite a rainy season, but I am wondering if it is something else. I moved it to my front porch and it was even worse. I watered it and it looks better. It perked it up, but do I break off stems or leaves? It has been really hot also. It does have blossoms and the tomatoes are also coming on. Any suggestions?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Beverly from Kewanee, IL
Maybe it's root bound and needs a bigger pot. (06/29/2010)
Are you feeding it? Tomato plants need feeding once a week when the flowers appear and need to be well watered. Take off any side shoots that don,t have flowers on them as these take all the goodness from the flower shoots. They also need sun to ripen them. (06/30/2010)