Ask a Question forum: Teeny tiny black dots on tomato sprouts

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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Feb 19, 2017 10:28 PM CST
Ok, I'm looking very closely at my tray of tomatoes, all different kinds, and the leaves of most of them have tiny raised areas where the leaf hairs are growing and they look dark/black. Of course I first think disease, but these leaves have literally never been touched. No splashes, no water, no breeze of air, nothing. The seeds were all different, sealed packages, and the medium they are in is clean seed starter. I did touch one leaf to see if it was just dusty, and it kinda looks like I smooshed some tiny white hairs growing on the leaf from the spots.

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So, is it normal or a disease? Do I dump the whole tray and start over? If so, is hot water and soap sufficient for the tray? How would everything get it with no breeze or water? Maybe it is just normal for the fine hairs on plants utterly undisturbed?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Feb 19, 2017 11:30 PM CST
The key words may be "no air". You cold be seeing the beginnings of mildew from a lack of air circulation.

Put a fan close enought to move the air around. That will discourage mildew and also make your plant stems stronger.

You may need to use a fungacide to get rid of the existing problem but with air circulation, it shouldn't come back.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Feb 20, 2017 1:35 AM CST
Understood, though, they aren't even a little wet. They don't have a cover on them, but it is winter in mn, so the heater is on and I don't have a humidifier, so I'm sure the air is very dry. Also, the pepper sprouts don't have it.

I will try a fungicide and see what it does and get in a fan. Thanks!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Feb 20, 2017 8:30 AM CST
It does seem odd for it to be a disease under the circumstances. Can you pinch off one of the worst leaves and take a picture of it on white printer paper to make the camera focus on the spots? Have you tried poking the spots with a needle to see if they come off?
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
Apples Composter Solar Power
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robynanne
Feb 20, 2017 9:26 AM CST
I'm a bit nervous about pinching off the only true leaf, or one of two in these little guys, but I'll see what I can figure out. I actually tried to brush it off with my hands - I wasn't so gentle as a needle. That first picture where the little hairs look crushed was my doing. It won't come off if I rub the leaf. I can see if a needle could pick it off... that's a good idea.

I'm considering just spraying the tray down with some neem. Would that be terrible? I think the stuff is gentle enough for the sprouts.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Feb 20, 2017 9:33 AM CST
If you don't want to remove an individual leaf you could try holding a piece of white paper behind it for the pic but it requires steadier hands than if you pinched it off and laid the leaf on it. I have not used neem oil on tomatoes or seedlings so maybe someone else can comment on that.
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
Apples Composter Solar Power
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robynanne
Feb 20, 2017 11:14 AM CST
I found this on the interwebs! Unfortunately, the pictures don't show up, but this is EXACTLY what I'm seeing. It sounds like the plants matured out of it... and she thinks maybe the high intensity bulbs were just magnifying everything like crazy? Anyway, glad I'm not insane....

http://forums.gardenweb.com/di...
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Feb 20, 2017 11:47 AM CST
Not having a tomato seedling in front of me, I looked on Google at seedling leaves and found this picture, which I think looks the same as yours - I don't think looks like a disease. Not all seedling pictures seem to show it though but your little guys look pretty healthy at this point.

https://www.google.ca/search?q...:
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
Apples Composter Solar Power
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robynanne
Feb 20, 2017 1:19 PM CST
Thank you! That is exactly what it looks like. Look at me learning stuff. Big Grin

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