The Q&A Archives: Possible Causes of Tomato Leaf Diseases

Question: In late January I planted 6 Early Girls' and one Celebrity'. They did great until the last two weeks. The bottom leaves are speckled brown and eventually turn all brown and dry up. It appears to be moving up the plants. I have some in containers and some in the ground and they are all affected. The Celebrity' is the worst and basically has very few sickly looking leaves left. This weekend it will receive a "mercy killing". I have not had this problem in the past. HELP! Thank you. Reyes Holguin Tucson, AZ

Answer: There a re a number of foliar diseases that effect tomatoes. Leaf disease include early and late blight, septoria leaf spot and even wilt. Without seeing the damage, it's hard to say which disease you have. I'd consult your local County Extension Office (602-628-5161) to see if they can help. Generally, grow tomatoes in well drained soil, mulch, in Tucson, with any organic materials you can to prevent water (and soil) from splashing on the leaves (soil contains the fungal spores), water only the roots and not the top of the plant and do so in the morning so it dries by evening and prune off and destroy any infected leaves as soon as you see the problem.

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