Tips & Techniques
Betterdays in Full Swing

Tomato Plant Problems from Diseases to Pests & How to Fix Them


By Emily Murphy

Given the right conditions, tomatoes will practically grow themselves. The basic formula is heat, full sun, nutrient rich soil that’s free draining, consistent water, and room for them to breath. No matter if you’re growing patio tomatoes in containers or vining tomatoes in raised beds, the formula is the same. However, every once in a while problems creep in (quite literally), so it’s best to be prepared and ward them off at the pass.

What do pests and diseases of tomatoes look like and what can you do about them? Your first and best line of defense is to choose tomato varieties that are adapted to your unique climate and resistant to the diseases common to your region.

The next best line of defense is to buy starts that appear perfectly healthy or to grow seedlings to reduce the risk of disease. Nursery starts should be vividly green, perky, and free of any marks, spots, or discoloration.

Once you’ve selected the right healthy tomato varieties, it’s valuable to recognize common pests and diseases and understand simple solutions for remedying problems. To help, we’ll break down the process into 4 components:

  1. Pests vs. Disease
  2. Common Tomato Pests
  3. Common Tomato Diseases
  4. Other Common Problems

Pests vs. Disease

First, identify what part of the plant is being affected. Is it the leaves, stem, flower, or fruit that appears disfigured, discolored, or dying? This will help determine if it’s an animal, bacteria, a fungus, or something else entirely.

3 Sure Signs of Pests

  1. Leaves or fruits are partially eaten, have holes, or insect tracks are evident
  2. Visibly seeing animals, eggs or larvae of aphids, weevils, or caterpillars on or near plants
  3. Seedlings disappear completely or plants are defoliated

5 Sure Signs of Diseases

  1. Leaves start yellowing or develop brown or black spots
  2. Leaf tips turn brown, curl, or shrivel
  3. A white film develops on leaf surfaces
  4. Fruits have soft spots, rotted stems, or are moldy
  5. Seedlings tip over or bend near the base of the stem shortly after the germination process

Common Tomato Pests

Common Tomato Diseases


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