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What the heck is up with my tomato starts?

 
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Hi! I started lots of plants from seed this year with pretty good success so far. This is my fourth year gardening, second year ever starting from seed. Unfortunately, I've noticed that a couple of the tomatoes have these papery-thin spots on the leaves. What's up with that?

I'm worried that there may have been some pests on my houseplants that decided to hop on over to the tender bbs - we noticed what appears to be thrips on a couple and one case of mealybug on a succulent. We tossed those guys into quarantine and have been treating with soap spray and/or little sticky catchers (nothing caught so far).

My hope is that it's just leaf burn. They're in a window that gets some intense afternoon sun, and I moved them even closer to it yesterday. But I know that's wishful thinking!

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!

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pollinator
Posts: 1123
Location: Denmark 57N
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It doesn't look 100% classic but I would suggest Edema which is a physiological issue rather than a disease, generally from over-watering or for the pot being warmer than the air when watered.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Skandi Rogers wrote:It doesn't look 100% classic but I would suggest Edema which is a physiological issue rather than a disease, generally from over-watering or for the pot being warmer than the air when watered.



This sounds very possible. I've noticed these pots don't seem to drain as quickly as the others and there's been a lot of temperature fluctuations here over the last few days, so being close to the window would amplify that.
 
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Are they still inside? I’m asking because I had the idea to overwinter some in my home. I’m pretty good at growing things but what a mess! I planted the few survivors out at the end of March which is way too early here. On cold nights and through several frost I covered them with terra cotta pots. They have all survived and are starting to look better. I think the forced air heat in my house was just too much.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Scott Stiller wrote:Are they still inside? I’m asking because I had the idea to overwinter some in my home. I’m pretty good at growing things but what a mess! I planted the few survivors out at the end of March which is way too early here. On cold nights and through several frost I covered them with terra cotta pots. They have all survived and are starting to look better. I think the forced air heat in my house was just too much.



Yup, still inside for now! We've been opening the windows to let some air in as a pre-hardening step before we put them out. We're in about zone 5 so we won't be planting these out for another couple of weeks.
That's wild you were able to have survivors! You should get a badge if they're able to make a recovery.
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Zone 5, ouch! I cannot imagine keeping mine alive any longer than I did, they were suffering. My grandma gave me advice that I’ve stuck to except this year. “Plant tomatoes when the nights are hot.” Best advice ever! Not something I’ll try again. Surprisingly, my Gotu Kola has done pretty great and I’m in no hurry to plant it out. I feel like we are at a huge advantage here with regards to annual plants. I routinely harvest tomatoes and peppers into November. If you plant them where they will get full sun and a little protection they fruit much longer.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Your grandma is right! I now realize that I won't be able to set out most of our hot-weather plants until June, so uh.... it'll be fun managing the size of the plants inside until then.
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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The nights where the temps got below 45 degrees I covered them with pots. It worked really well although the plants didn’t grow during that time. They definitely were happier outside than in and looked healthier. I planted mine out in late March so I feel like you could do that as well. I’m interested in there progress so when you succeed please let me know.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Ok, so - it's not getting any better. Leaves are becoming yellow and rolling, and one of the branches snapped off with ease. The patches are also beginning to appear on the stems, pictured. I've also noticed some barely visible little black dust-like spots clinging to some of the hairs and leaves of the plant, a few of them look lighter and completely straight. They don't seem to be crawly at all, though.
Anyone have experience with anything like this?

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Scott Stiller
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Hey sorry, busy day. Have you tried an organic fertilizer? First thoughts are copper or maybe magnesium deficiency but not sure. All around organic fertilizer may help.
 
pollinator
Posts: 239
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Looks like whitefly damage, it's very common in potted plants. It should out grow the damage once planted out. If you put a layer of diatomaceous earth on the surface and keep it dry should take care of the whitefly.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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I'm getting my hands on some Gaia Green Power Bloom and Diatomaceous earth on Friday and will try both of those out. Does the diatomaceous earth go onto the soil level or on the foliage as well? I've been inspecting the plants regularly and haven't found anything resembling any flies or bugs.
 
Posts: 3
Location: Chicago
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Hello! Usually this happens to me because of the large amount of water and if water gets on the leaves on a sunny day.
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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If it’s whitefly you’ll know it. Just shake the plant a bit and they go everywhere.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Well, since I won't be able to do any treatment til tomorrow, I thought I'd share some more photos as how this has developed in case someone has experienced something similar. I'm just a little concerned because it seems like some other plants nearby are also getting a couple of those light spots that the tomatoes showed in the beginning. I apologize for the onslaught of photos!

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Bottom leaves on cherry tomato plant just crusting away.
Bottom leaves on cherry tomato plant just crusting away.
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Weird thin streaks on a basil leaf.
Weird thin streaks on a basil leaf.
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Strange dry, browning patches on the cherry tomato.
Strange dry, browning patches on the cherry tomato.
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Another cherry tomato leaf.
Another cherry tomato leaf.
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Stem on the Bull's Heart tomato.
Stem on the Bull's Heart tomato.
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Bull's heart foliage lookin' real sad.
Bull's heart foliage lookin' real sad.
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Crispy, silvery brown thin spot.
Crispy, silvery brown thin spot.
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She ugly.
She ugly.
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And droopy.
And droopy.
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A better foliage view.
A better foliage view.
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You can see how it starts with spots then spreads outward.
You can see how it starts with spots then spreads outward.
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The stem on this one also has a sad patch.
The stem on this one also has a sad patch.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Hello! Here's an update for all y'all. I have come to believe that it's Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus spread by some thrips that were hiding out in my houseplants and hopped into my nursery, which was only a couple feet away. I wiped a little black speck from a tomato leaf off onto my finger, and watched it wiggle a bit, and then jump SO FAR! They're springloaded. Explains why some other plants seem to have "caught" the spots. All in all, I think I was a bit too late with my treatment/prevention methods, especially since I was starting these seeds right next to these host plants, totally unaware of their army hiding out. I still have a few plants that look like they're unaffected by the disease, but I've had to toss about half the plants I've started. The rest are going to be closely monitored and dusted/sprayed to get rid of any jerks that might be hiding out.

Ah, death. We meet again.
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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It’s certainly been a bad year for tomatoes. Not only did we have a frost six weeks later than normal, since Monday it’s rained six inches here. I still have a porch full of new starts that I don’t want to drown.
Due to the past few months my wife is going to let me get a proper greenhouse. Hopefully that will fix my issues next season.
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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I also have foot tall spaghetti and butternut squash plants flowering already! Weird
 
Posts: 45
Location: 5b Ontario
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Thank you for the barrage of photographs!  It was actually helpful for me to diagnose and correct my own problems. Some of my starts this year have similar to the damage as your first photographs, although I think mine was oedema as was suggested.

It was also only affecting two of my new varieties, but these are also the only ones in plastic pots. The rest I have in little peat pots. Water is probably not evaporating fast enough on those compared to the peat pots which dry out faster, and that issue was probably compounded by the fact I had to bring my whole setup up from our cool basement and it was then put into the back bedroom with a very warm floor and very cool air. Poor little guys. Lol. I moved them all out to the unheated garage last week and they have picked up now.

Sorry you have buggies that also developed on yours :(  Hopefully the rest can be saved. If ever there was a year to have home grown tomatoes, this would definitely be at the top of the list.

Last year I used a mild spray of a bit of neem oil with a few drops of rosemary essential oil into just warmed water, and very lightly misted over my tomatoes. Worked against the aphids and they didnt come back the rest of the summer. Also worked on my squash and cucumbers against the beetles that showed up. Not sure about whitefly but good grief neem is truly vile smelling, so hey it might work.

If you do go the neem route, be stingy. Lol. It seriously stinks with this awful skunky musk. And it stays stuck to your skin so if you (accidentally) spray it onto your arms you'll have the advantage of mosquito repellant. But you'll smell just awful. Its a husband repellant too. Lol. Tried and tested.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 23
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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Sionainn Cailís wrote:Thank you for the barrage of photographs!  It was actually helpful for me to diagnose and correct my own problems. Some of my starts this year have similar to the damage as your first photographs, although I think mine was oedema as was suggested.

It was also only affecting two of my new varieties, but these are also the only ones in plastic pots. The rest I have in little peat pots. Water is probably not evaporating fast enough on those compared to the peat pots which dry out faster, and that issue was probably compounded by the fact I had to bring my whole setup up from our cool basement and it was then put into the back bedroom with a very warm floor and very cool air. Poor little guys. Lol. I moved them all out to the unheated garage last week and they have picked up now.

Sorry you have buggies that also developed on yours :(  Hopefully the rest can be saved. If ever there was a year to have home grown tomatoes, this would definitely be at the top of the list.

Last year I used a mild spray of a bit of neem oil with a few drops of rosemary essential oil into just warmed water, and very lightly misted over my tomatoes. Worked against the aphids and they didnt come back the rest of the summer. Also worked on my squash and cucumbers against the beetles that showed up. Not sure about whitefly but good grief neem is truly vile smelling, so hey it might work.

If you do go the neem route, be stingy. Lol. It seriously stinks with this awful skunky musk. And it stays stuck to your skin so if you (accidentally) spray it onto your arms you'll have the advantage of mosquito repellant. But you'll smell just awful. Its a husband repellant too. Lol. Tried and tested.



I'm glad this thread proved to be helpful! I too had never heard of edema but always good to know what numerous issues can pop up that don't fit the usual suspects. Thanks again for the tips about neem oil! I've been using a light solution of castille soap and water since the plants are still so young, but I've heard that thrips can develop a resistance to insecticide so I'll probably try to alternate methods.
 
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