Tomato Leaf Curl

By Jannie Vaught,

Last week we had severe storms that had high winds. And what occurred out in the garden was this. Some of the larger tomato plants had their leaves curled inward. On inspection, after I re-tied them, I found no yellowing or insects under the leaves and no Mosaic Virus mottling on the leaves. I went to the computer to the Texas A and M Ag Extension site and typed in Tomato Leaf Curl. This is a piece of 5-page information with great pictures. What Makes Tomato Leaves Curl or Twist. For the tomato grower, I highly recommend you take a moment and read this. There are 5 primary reasons for tomato leaves to twist or curl. Wind damage. Herbicide drift. Herbicide residue. Broad Mite. Tomato Viruses. Seeing we just had the wind I’m almost sure it was from the leaves drying. But I will be looking closer after reading this article. Some times it is simply ruling out items and close observation.

Lets look briefly at the 5. Wind damage. High winds, blowing dust and low humidity can damage the leaves and stems, causing the leaves to die back and curl. a self-defense response called physiologically leaf roll to save moisture. This can happen throughout the garden, peppers eggplant. Herbicide drift. If your near outside farming areas that are spraying broadleaf herbicides there can be herbicide drift as the wind carries the spray aloft and onto other areas. Herbicide Residue.

Last year I wrote a column on this. The use of broadleaf herbicides such as Grazon in grass used for feed. It does not compost out and goes through the animal after being eaten and still will kill broadleaf plants. That’s Your Whole Garden. Alfalfa is unaffected as it is a legume a broadleaf. So Ask and use organic straw or grass hay for mulch. Broad mites are tiny mites that are under the leaves and found in greenhouse plants and when you use shade covers as they don’t like the light. Tomato Viruses. There are hundreds of tomato viruses that can cause leaf curling or plant stunting. These are spread by the Whitefly and can cause crop loss. the use of insecticidal soap can alleviate the problem, but use as soon as possible and follow directions. The article states the key to solving the problem is to identify the source or sources of the problem. Wind damage will correct itself as soon as the weather stabilizes. But if you having yellowing curling or twisting you need to examine the plant and treat. If it is the herbicide nothing will save the plant. Let’s hope for Wind Damage!

Time to go out to the garden with the magnifying glass and look closer.

Growing Green Jannie