3 Common Tomato Problems

18 Mar

In your home garden, you probably won’t encounter too many pests and diseases. But if you do, don’t give up! It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact issue, so here are three common tomato problems you may have witnessed when growing tomatoes and their possible causes.

For more in-depth information about a wide range of tomato diseases, including how to prevent them, consult the appropriate section in How to Grow Juicy Tasty Tomatoes.

Wilted Plants

Plants that become wilted on a hot summer’s day should perk up overnight. If they don’t, water immediately. If your plants are still wilted, check the roots for rotting, and cut the stem open to check for discolouration.

Verticillium Wilt

Midday wilt which turns to complete plant wilt, paired with the yellowing of lower leaves and a ‘v’-shaped cut on lower leaves suggest Verticillium Wilt. This disease is more common in colder climates, and symptoms are more obvious when plants have a heavy fruit load.

Bacterial Wilt

If your plant wilts suddenly, and a brown, milky substances oozes from the cut stem when dipped in water, your plant may have bacterial wilt. This soil borne disease infects the root system and stem of the plant.

Spots on Leaves

tomato diseases

Signs of early blight

Early Blight

Leaves with dark brown or black spots, which contain concentric circles, suggest your plant is suffering from Early Blight, also known as Target Spot. This disease affects the lower leaves first, which may eventually turn yellow and drop off. This disease can occur all year round, but is most common when there is dew or fog in winter, or moisture in summer.

Bacterial Spot or Bacterial Speck

Bacterial spot or bacterial speck may be the cause of raised black spots or specks on both leaves and fruit. This disease is most common during moist weather, and can survive on plant debris and surrounding weeds.

Seedling Death

Damping Off

If your seedlings stem is blackening and withering at soil level, it could be suffering from damping off disease. This can cause the stem to collapse, and the seedling to die. Damping off is most common in cool, wet soil, and moist, cold weather. Overcrowding or over watering seedlings can cause this disease.


A cutworm close up

Cutworm or Crickets

Have your seedling’s stems been cut off or eaten through? This may be caused by cutworm or crickets. The larvae eat through the seedling’s stem close to ground level during the night.

In our best selling book How to Grow Juciy Tasty Tomatoes we explain the symptoms, causes, controls and remedies for many more tomato diseases. Grab a copy to ensure your plants are healthy and your tomatoes are delicious!

Image 1 credit: Dwight Silpler Image 2 credit: Micah Woods