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SpecialistMichael
SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 507
Experience:  Senior Information Specialist
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My tomato plants are dying from the bottom up. the leaves

Resolved Question:

My tomato plants are dying from the bottom up. the leaves turn yellow and dye off. Any idea what problem is?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 2 years ago.

FitnessSpecialist :

Hi there are you available?

FitnessSpecialist :

My name is XXXXX XXXXX if you are up for it I would like to try to narrow down some of the reasons your plants aren't doing so well

Customer:

I am not sure what fitness has to do with my gardening question.

FitnessSpecialist :

It has nothing to do it with - but fitness specialist is just my user name on Just answer. I am a "farm grown" individual with my entire life experience of agriculture

FitnessSpecialist :

if you would like the assistance of someone else just let me know

Customer:

No, just want to know what is wrong with tomatoes.

FitnessSpecialist :

OK great this is a bit of a complex issue, with some elimination strategy to be done on your part.

Tell me, where are these plants planted - and if ground planted, have you ever had issues with them before?

Customer:

Yes in ground. No issues before. Have had tomatoes in same area before.

FitnessSpecialist :

Ok and can you tell me about your watering habits - if any?

FitnessSpecialist :

many times the more simple issue is OVER or UNDERwatering

Customer:

Water about once or twice a week depending on weather. Use soaker hose mostly.

FitnessSpecialist :

Excellent information. If you were to go outside and stick your finger down to about root level, do you think the soil would be moist?

FitnessSpecialist :

plants like these like good drainage BUT

Customer:

Yes

FitnessSpecialist :

they also like to not be drowning in soggy soil

FitnessSpecialist :

it can get very very hot during the day and actually dry out the soil a bit more than people think

Customer:

Not an issue with our soil. Sand and compost mostly.

FitnessSpecialist :

ok

FitnessSpecialist :

do the leaves have spots?

FitnessSpecialist :

the yellowing ones

Customer:

yes

FitnessSpecialist :

ahh

Customer:

The yellow ones.

FitnessSpecialist :

have you checked the underside of the leaves

Customer:

no

FitnessSpecialist :

Well generally

FitnessSpecialist :

spotting is an indicator of either small insect damage OR

FitnessSpecialist :

bacterial wilt, which is very common actually

FitnessSpecialist :

when people can't pinpoint a problem and have exhausted all efforts we usually default to wilt

FitnessSpecialist :

what is different about this years plants compared to last years plants

Customer:

Other than them dying not much. Have lots of green tomatoes. Plants not as full.

FitnessSpecialist :

interesting

FitnessSpecialist :

on the plants with the yellow leaves

FitnessSpecialist :

does it stay JSUT on that group of leaves

FitnessSpecialist :

or is it the WHOLE entire plant?

FitnessSpecialist :

stems and leaves i mean

FitnessSpecialist :

or entire plant

Customer:

stems and leaves

FitnessSpecialist :

just in like one section?

FitnessSpecialist :

but a definite area?

FitnessSpecialist :

also - are the fruits included?

FitnessSpecialist :

or hasn't this plant given anything yet

Customer:

Don't understand. There are 6 plants that are planted in same area and all are experiencing same delemia

FitnessSpecialist :

i was under the impression that it was a single plant out of a group

Customer:

no all.

FitnessSpecialist :

usually when plants experience a widespread issue like this - if you do not notice anything as far as infesation

FitnessSpecialist :

infestation

FitnessSpecialist :

it tends to lean toward bacteria wilt, which is soil borne and tends to affect entire crops

FitnessSpecialist :

that why initially i asked about them being in ground or potted

FitnessSpecialist :

the easiest way to tell, as unfortunate as it is

FitnessSpecialist :

would be to have 2 new potted plants, grow them until you are sure they are thriving

FitnessSpecialist :

keep one potted but then transplant one to the ground

FitnessSpecialist :

this should reproduce the same symptoms telling you its bacterial wilt

FitnessSpecialist :

As miserable as this problem is, its very very common in some area

FitnessSpecialist :

s

FitnessSpecialist :

and can be new season to season

FitnessSpecialist :

The fact that its consistent from plant to plant and happening from each plant planted in this area basically confirms

FitnessSpecialist :

are you able to take a soil sample and have it evaluated for micronutrient content

FitnessSpecialist :

What you can actually try as well is available at walmart

FitnessSpecialist :

i believe its called Serenity or Serenade

FitnessSpecialist :

its a bacterial combatant

Customer:

I will also give that a try. Thanks for your help.

FitnessSpecialist :

hang on one moment

FitnessSpecialist :

let me find other products in case you dont have that

FitnessSpecialist :

one moment

Customer:

ok

FitnessSpecialist :

alright having a tough time finding other solutions

FitnessSpecialist :

but seeif you can find that

FitnessSpecialist :

one way to evaluate if it is wilt

FitnessSpecialist :

or bacterial infection

FitnessSpecialist :

take the worst plant(one that might die off anyway)

FitnessSpecialist :

cut it at soil level and check the inside of the stalk for discoloration

FitnessSpecialist :

after that put it in a glass of water and see if anything oozes out - if it does that would be an indication of that sickness

FitnessSpecialist :

i would recommend seeing if you can start 2 new plants in pots

FitnessSpecialist :

then transfering one to the soil and seeing if that reproduces

FitnessSpecialist :

the other thing is making sure the source of plants, just in case, is tested initially to ensure youre not getting plants or seeds that might be contaminated

FitnessSpecialist :

AND - having a micronutrient evaluation on the soil would be a priority as well

Customer:

I will follow up with these steps. Does this stay in soil from year to year.

FitnessSpecialist :

As miserable as the situation is right now, did I help you in understanding a few of the probable causes of your yellowing, spotting and dying leaves on these plants

FitnessSpecialist :

um yes sometiems it can

FitnessSpecialist :

BUT

FitnessSpecialist :

it also could be something that was on the plants themselves if you bought them

FitnessSpecialist :

AND could have been the seeds if they were planted from seed

FitnessSpecialist :

theres bacteria in the soil all over the place

FitnessSpecialist :

sometimes the soil isn't great or "clean" but people are able to do OK

FitnessSpecialist :

im almost suspect of the plants or seeds

FitnessSpecialist :

but check the soil if so

FitnessSpecialist :

and do the potting transfer with 1 of the 2 plants to confirm

FitnessSpecialist :

at least this way you have a "control" plant and then an experimental plant

FitnessSpecialist :

so you can say for sure

FitnessSpecialist :

Does that help?

Customer:

I totally agree. Hugely. Again thanks for your time and efforts. I really appreciate everything.

FitnessSpecialist :

I love tomatos myself - i eat them like apples

FitnessSpecialist :

and you are absolutely welcome

FitnessSpecialist :

also

FitnessSpecialist :

turn your soil, and wash your hands - obviously if these dont survive make sure they are destroyed and NOT reintroduced into the composter you have

FitnessSpecialist :

let me know how everything goes please

Customer:

Sure will.

FitnessSpecialist :

Have a good day - don't hesitate to request "fitnessmike" if you want to work with me exclusively

SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 507
Experience: Senior Information Specialist
SpecialistMichael and 114 other General Specialists are ready to help you

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