Tomato Plant Problems

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About Tomato Plant Problems

Growing tomato plants doesn’t always go without a hitch. Are you having problems with your tomato plants? You’re not alone. Tomato plant problems are all too commonplace. Hopefully, you will find the answers below, so you can quickly correct the problem.

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Identifying Tomato Plant Problems - Symptoms, Causes, and Cures

Seeds Don't Sprout

Probable Causes:

Old seeds are not viable.

The soil is too cold.

Seeds are planted too deeply.

How to Correct:

Add bottom heat., and use a germination mat.

Plant seeds very shallowly.

See Seed Sprouting Problems

Seedlings fall over, cut at the base of the soil

Probable Causes:

The most likely cause is Damping Off Disease.

How to Correct:

Let the top of the soil dry between watering. Add air circulation and more sunlight.

Seedlings are long and leggy

Probable Causes:

Not enough sunlight.

How to Correct:

Let the sunshine in!

Move trays from window to window to catch more sunlight.

Set outdoors on warm days. Use a grow light overnight.

More on Leggy Plants

Bushy plants, no flowers or fruit

Probable Causes:

There’s too much nitrogen in the soil.

How to Correct:

Stop using nitrogen fertilizers just before the flowering stage. Add potassium to promote blooms.

Healthy plants with flowers, no fruit set

Probable Causes:

The most frequent cause is poor pollination due to high heat. Highs in the ’90s or above can cause this problem.

How to Correct:

As soon as a cool spell arrives, the problem will be resolved.

More on Pollination problems

Ugly brown spot-on bottom of fruit

Probable Causes:

Blossom end rot is caused by uneven watering and/or lack of calcium in the soil.

How to Correct:

Keep soil moist, and deeply water. Check calcium levels. Add liquid chelated calcium if needed.

More on Blossom End Rot.

Leaves, yellow and spotted

Probable Causes:

The most likely cause is a fungal disease caused by a combination of moisture on the leaves, heat, and high humidity.

How to Correct:

Use a fungicide before problems occur. Water directly to the roots. If you do use overhead sprinklers, use them early in the day to allow the leaves to dry before nightfall. Thin plants to improve air circulation.

Powdery white stuff on leaves

Probable Causes:

This is powdery mildew. 

How to Correct:

Apply fungicides. Use fungicides before hot weather begins to prevent powdery mildew. 

More on Powdery Mildew.

Stem cut off at/near soil level.

Probable Causes:

This is caused by cutworms.

How to Correct:

Use Tomato Plant Collars.

Use baits specifically effective against cutworms.

More on Powdery Mildew.

Tomato skin is splitting

Probable Causes:

Too much water all at once. This commonly occurs when a period of drought is followed by periods of heavy rains. It’s also caused by infrequent watering.

How to Correct:

Improve drainage. Water regularly and deeply.

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