Curly Top - Knowledgebase Question

jerome, Id
Question by debralhopkin
March 18, 2010
Best solution to curly top in tomatoes?

Answer from NGA
March 18, 2010


Curly top is a virus, spread by leafhopper insects so it is easier to prevent than to treat. Once a tomato plant has the virus, it should be removed from the garden. Prevention is everything, there is no treatment. You can try to make your tomatoes unappealing to the leafhoppers. Cover young tomatoes in the spring with a light shade cloth. It is not necessary for the shade cloth to seal the insects out. Leaf hoppers are desert insects and like warm sunny environments, so they will avoid shaded plants. Plant tomatoes late, after the leafhopper vectors are gone - (balance the need to avoid leafhoppers with the need to achieve production before the high temperatures in the summer or before the killing frosts of winter). Eliminate nearby host weeds and infected plants to prevent transmission and spread of the virus. Some resistant varieties of tomatoes have been introduced, but reports of successful resistance are variable.

Since it is much too early in the growing season for curly top, if your tomato plants are exhibiting some curled or cupped leaves, the problem is environmental, not a disease. As the weather warms the leaves that develop won't be curled. I hope your plants simply have a few curled leaves rather than the virus!

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