The Q&A Archives: Tomato Diseases

Question: Another question on the tomato plant "Celebrity." The plant always looks healthy until it starts to produce fruit, then the problem starts. The bottom leaves start curling, turn brown and become dry and crunchy. By the end of the growing season the whole plant is affected. What's wrong?

Answer: You've just described typical symptoms of the fungal diseases fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt which are almost identical. However, "Celebrity" is designated as resistant to both these wilts as noted by the letters V and FF which follow the variety name. There could be several explanations. Remember that "resistant" does not preclude the possibility that the wilt could still be a problem. And as for fusarium wilt, new strains are showing up in the south and west. Also, are you CERTAIN that you have Celebrity? Perhaps if was mismarked.

This year purchase plant more than one resistant variety (just in case), and plant in a spot where tomatoes weren't planted the previous year, nor within 50 feet of a walnut tree. Hopefully you will have a much better crop of tomatoes this year!

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