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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old July 16, 2017   #1
Kinslet
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Default Nasty disease?/fungus? taking over!

Hello, all!

I have run into what seems to be a growing problem this year. I am fairly new at gardening and cannot figure out what is going on with my plants. I am growing in grow boxes. I live in humid western NC and am trying to grow organically. So far I have only been using neem oil and de to control pests and disease, but clearly something isn't working. I am wondering if the humidity is causing it to spread even more. I am attaching pics of the plants that have been affected the worst. My tomatoes, some peppers, eggplants and beans have all been affected. Really worried my garden is too far gone. Any advice as to what this could be and how to control it would be greatly greatly appreciated! Thank you all!
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Old July 16, 2017   #2
jillian
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I really feel your pain! Hopefully some of the more experienced growers will chime in. I am getting ready to spray myself, some of my leaves look a little sad.
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Old July 16, 2017   #3
gorbelly
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The only pathogen I know of that can affect all those different species with those symptoms is TSWV.

Another thought is that it could be burn from the neem? But burn doesn't usually look like that.

Hopefully someone with more experience can help.
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Old July 16, 2017   #4
bower
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Gee it does look awful. It doesn't look like any of the common fungal diseases to me, so I would guess bacterial.

Either way, step one for organic management is to remove the bad leaves to prevent spread of the disease. Bag and burn em or otherwise dispose far from the plants and not in the regular compost pile unless you find out what it is and that it is okay to do so...

'Sanitation pruning' or 'grooming' is harmless and helpful as long as you are careful not to spread the disease to healthy parts. Use a bleach or alcohol dip for your pruners, use one hand to collect the prunings and put them directly into a bag, and don't touch the plants with that hand except the leaf being cut off.

The good news is that tomatoes can grow leaves really fast, they will soon regenerate what you take away and then some.
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Old July 16, 2017   #5
AlittleSalt
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It took me quite a while but I think I may have found what could be the problem. Here's a link: http://www.tomatodirt.com/septoria-leaf-spot.html It shows this picture along with what sounds like good info.
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Old July 17, 2017   #6
RayR
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Doesn't look like any disease I've ever heard of. A lot of the leaves look like they have insect damage. Kinslet, what kind of pests have you been battling?
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Old July 17, 2017   #7
gorbelly
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Broad mite will cause leaf vein necrosis, and it has a wide host range. It's truly microscopic, though, so a paper/tap test or the naked eye won't find them, and even a small population can cause a lot of damage.

I think there's also something fungal or bacterial going on in some of those photos as well.
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Old July 17, 2017   #8
MrBig46
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I think it's a bacterial speck. Enter "bacterial speck on tomato fruit on leaf" on Google.
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Old July 17, 2017   #9
gorbelly
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It looks most like speck, I agree, but the common strain in most of the US affects only tomato, IIRC. There is a different strain that can also infect pepper. Eggplant has only been infected when done so artificially, such as for experimental purposes.

Bacterial spot affects pepper and tomato, but not eggplant.

Septoria can affect all three, supposedly, although it only infects tomato plants in my garden, even when peppers and eggplants are growing right next to affected tomatoes, and that really doesn't look like septoria to me.

None of these diseases will affect beans.
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Old July 17, 2017   #10
Kinslet
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Thank you all so much for taking the time to help me! It does look like Septoria on some plants for sure. I also think there must be some bacterial speck. It seemed to spread so fast and literally within a couple of days this is what happened. Maybe my plants got infected with multiple diseases at the same time?

As far as pests go, I really haven't seen too many besides some caterpillars I have been picking off. I think they are either some type of moth caterpillar or maybe armyworms? I did battle some aphids early on but the neem took care of those.

Regardless it looks like I will be using the sanitation pruning method and try to get rid of it or at least stop it from spreading... although I'm afraid some of my plants will be nubs.

Thank you all again! I was truly at a loss yesterday and now at least I have an idea of what this stuff could be and how to start to take care of it. You guys are awesome!
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Old July 17, 2017   #11
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I think gorbelly is right that it may be broadmites, the damage pattern on the tomato and beans especially are too similar in appearance. You can't see mites with your naked eyes, you need a magnifier of at least 10X. The white paper test my work, put a piece of white paper under a leaf and slap the leaf with your other hand and see if you can shake loose any mites onto the paper. If you see any tiny specks moving around on the paper, then you have mites for sure.
I know Septoria too well and it doesn't look like it. Aphid damage can many times cause brown spots on leaves that mimic the general appearance of a Septoria or bacterial lesion. Septoria lycopersici will infect tomato leaves and rarely related plants like peppers or eggplant.
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Old July 17, 2017   #12
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Kinslet, the post I made was trying to match what the leaves look like in the first two pictures. I have never had plants with septoria leaf spot, and as far as I know, no spider mites either. Septoria leaf spot is just my guess at what it could be. I have read that a lot of people have problems with spider mites. I would definitely do the test that Ray suggests.

Hopefully, it's not both or something else.
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Old July 17, 2017   #13
Kinslet
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Ooh, I am going to be doing the magnifier test as well as the paper test. I hadn't even considered that it might be broad mites... Yuck.

AlittleSalt, I agree that it definitely looks like septoria on some leaves. I am definitely hoping it is something that I can control... This just spread so fast!

I have pruned all the nasty leaves off my plants and am getting rid of them. I have been reading of using hydrogen peroxide on diseased plants in an effort to control the disease. Has anyone tried this?

Again, thank you all so much for the input!
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Old July 17, 2017   #14
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I can't comment on hydrogen peroxide but I will add that sanitation does help with mites at my place. The key though is timing and getting them under control. Everything is affected by the weather conditions - even insects it seems. This year we are hot and dry like never before, so no fungus disease but it seems that spruce mites are blowing in my greenhouse windows. The neat thing is, there are some really small spiders that evidently prey on these mites, and they turn up to feed on them. I don't mind reducing their food supply at all by picking off the feeding stations, and when the mites are really in defeat the spiders just disappear from the greenhouse to better feeding grounds. I was at my friend's farm this afternoon pruning and tying her tomatoes - which came from me, with a few mites in tow! - and the same small spiders are still hanging about there (and some big ones!). Plants looking great. But if I didn't pinch off and dispose the damaged leaves, these infestations would get out of control, then the plants suffer too badly and there's nothing left to pick off.
I'm still seeing a few affected leaves now and then near the windows in my greenhouse, so I keep taking them out. I have seen this before and if you let it go without action, the spread is really bad. Not even spiders can eat so many.

So here's hoping the weather and the insect predators cooperate to bring your tomatoes to a lush and happy condition!
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Old July 17, 2017   #15
Kinslet
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Bower, thank you so much for your advice! I already feel better knowing those nasty leaves are no longer attached to my plants. Timing is definitely everything it seems. I hope I didn't wait too long to sanitize.

The weather here has been soooo wet and humid and I think that has definitely played a part in this. I also think the soil has been too wet and I wonder if that could also be part of the problem? All I know is I am crossing my fingers!

Thank goodness you have those spiders around! It sounds like they are good garden helpers. And yes, I can see how not taking the affected leaves off immediately can cause anything to spread very quickly... I hope I will be lucky enough to get some good bugs in and whatever this is out! Thank you for the well garden wishes!
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