Ask a Question forum→Dying tomato plants!!!

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Glendive, Montana
KaRice
Apr 21, 2021 9:40 AM CST
We started tomatos indoors and they were all thriving up until a couple weeks or so ago. Their branches have started falling off starting from the bottom (on some plants the bottom leaves turn yellow too), until just the stem remains. I just noticed white spots on the stems as well. They are under a grow light, and we try to be careful not to overwater or underwater them. We sprayed them with a 3 in 1 (fungicide, miticide, and insecticide) garden spray 3 days ago, but not sure they are responding yet. Can anyone help me to know what exactly is going on?? And if we are on the right track with the garden spray?
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Apr 21, 2021 4:28 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @KaRice -

Could you tell us a little more about your tomato plants? Where are you growing them, what is the temperature, how old are they (and how large are they at this point), are they getting sufficient light? I think a photo of the entire plant(s) would also be helpful. They appear to be in plastic cups - do those have good drainage holes in the bottom? And have they been in those cups the entire time, or were they recently potted up into them?

From what little I can tell from the photo that you posted, my guess would be that the plants are too large for their containers and need to be potted up - or better yet, planted out; you can bury a lot of that stem and roots will develop from it.
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Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Apr 21, 2021 4:30 PM CST
Looks like it might be infested with mildew also.
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
Apr 21, 2021 4:39 PM CST
I'm pretty sure it's still too cold to plant tomatoes outside in Montana. More pics would be good. I also think that they need to be potted up, and I suspect some kind of disease, but more pics will reveal the real problems.,
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14th Dalai Lama
Glendive, Montana
KaRice
Apr 21, 2021 5:06 PM CST
They range in height from 6-12in. We transplanted them into cups with drainholes around a month ago and added soil as they got older to establish more roots up the stem. They are at room temperature under a grow light. They look tall and leggy in the picture, but thats mostly because the bottom leaves have already fallen off. The grow light stays on about 16 hrs a day. I'll get more pics when I get home. Thanks for your feedback!
Glendive, Montana
KaRice
Apr 21, 2021 6:23 PM CST
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Crying
Glendive, Montana
KaRice
Apr 21, 2021 7:07 PM CST

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 21, 2021 7:12 PM CST
I think the big problem is you started to early (we are all impatient this time of year Smiling ) but otherwise, your plants look good. Tomatoes are hot weather plants - too cold or to damp, they pout and mildew. A fan to keep the air moving will help with mildew and make their stems sturdier. More light will also help.

What they need are larger pots. A pot big and deep enough to bury the entire stem, all but the leaves. You can pull them out of the cups they are in, place them at the bottom of at least a 1 gallon nursery pot (2 or 3 gallon if you have the space) and fill the pot with soil.

Next year, start your tomato plants about 4 weeks before the date you expect to plant them out. You are in zone 4a - your start date should be about now to be planted out at the beginning of June. (Just a guess. Any zone 4a people reading this thread?)
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Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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gardenfish
Apr 22, 2021 12:03 AM CST
I totally agree with Daisy.In one pic I see one plant that looks pretty bad, it may be disease, but it's more likely suffering from too small a pot and underwatering. Yes, the plants do look good overall!
I jump the gun myself on starting plants too early. My problem babies are squash and melons because they germinate so quickly and get really viney before I can get them outside.
My planting out date is much earlier than yours; it's anywhere from April 15 to May 1st.
“ Be kind whenever possible”
14th Dalai Lama
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Bee Lover Butterflies Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Weedwhacker
Apr 22, 2021 8:06 AM CST
I actually think that what appears to be mildew on the plants is likely to just be some residue from the spray that was used.

I start my tomato seeds 6 weeks before I want to plant them - so, for a June 1st planting date, the seeds get started around April 15th. However, I have an unheated greenhouse where the seedlings spend a couple of weeks before being planted out... so if they are going to be under lights the entire time, 4 or 5 weeks would probably be better.
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
C/F temp conversion
Name: Vera
ON CA (Zone 5b)
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Serpent
Apr 25, 2021 10:53 AM CST
I'm curious how this turned out.
Are they better, KaRice?
Options are good. So are strawberries.

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