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Old July 4, 2019   #1
mayax68
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Default Help with gnarled tomato leaves

Hi. I seem to get some more and more plants in my garden which grow very curled, more like gnarled leaves. Bottom leaves seem to be fine but new growth is doing that. Those that started doing early are stunted. Others are having none of this and yet some good size bishes are developing new growth which is all twisted

What is this and how do I fight it?
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Old July 4, 2019   #2
VC Scott
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Looks like possible herbicide drift damage to me. In this case, from 2.4-D.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tESPmlGeZI8
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Old July 5, 2019   #3
svalli
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I agree with Scott about the herbicide drift from sprayed lawn or pasture, but check also the fertilizer, which you have used.

I have seen many photos of this type of tomato growth happening in Finland. Suspects are ecological fertilizers made from stuff called vinasse or the ones containing molasses. Both can be made from sugar beets and to my surprise sugar beet fields are commonly sprayed with broad leaf herbicide clopyralid.

I encountered this problem few years ago, when I used such fertilizer. Now there are many European brands selling these "ecological" concoctions, which may contain herbicide residue.

I have seen a lot of warnings about tainted manure, but the plant based fertilizer are no safer. Sad thing is that the manufacturers do not take the issue seriously and many gardeners have blamed weather or some other conditions. I do not dare to use any natural fertilizers in my garden anymore, because I am so afraid of the possible herbicide contamination.

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Old July 5, 2019   #4
Lee
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I would also concur on the assessment that it looks like herbicide damage.
One year, I mulched a few potted plants with grass clippings which had been treated with 2,4-D 3 months prior. I assumed (seeing weeds showing up in the lawn again) that the herbicide had degraded. However, within a few days, my tomato plants started to show the similar twisted, thin leaf growth you are seeing.
I removed the clippings and flushed the pots with water, and the plants out grew the damage. Not sure of the remedy for in ground plants though.


Apparently, tomato plants are extremely sensitive to this herbicide (apparently more so than common weeds).


Good luck!


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Old July 5, 2019   #5
jtjmartin
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You bring back painful memories! One year the neighbor's lawn service must have sprayed a weed killer on a windy day - I had the same curl. Some of the plants grew out of it over time - most never recovered.
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Old July 6, 2019   #6
arnorrian
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Spraying lawns with herbicides is a crime against the planet. My lawn is full of dandelion, plantago and clover, and I love it for it. Both this and watering the lawn are dangerous habits that should be eradicated as soon as possible. It's simple vanity, nothing more.
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Old July 6, 2019   #7
mayax68
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Thank you, all. I suspected as much.... we do not use any chemicals but I took grass clippings from my neighbor for years. This problem seems to happen in various degrees for past 2-3 years. Most of the years the plants grew out of it. But this year it is bad for plants. They told me that it is the same service they always had. Most likely the service changed their chemicals.

No more clippings for me.
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Old July 6, 2019   #8
brownrexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnorrian View Post
Spraying lawns with herbicides is a crime against the planet. My lawn is full of dandelion, plantago and clover, and I love it for it. Both this and watering the lawn are dangerous habits that should be eradicated as soon as possible. It's simple vanity, nothing more.
I totally agree. If I wanted a green carpet I would buy one for the yard. My lawn is full of clover and the honeybees are all over it.
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Old July 6, 2019   #9
PaulF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownrexx View Post
My lawn is full of clover and the honeybees are all over it.
Our State Extension Horticulterist visited our lawn and said it was very 'diverse' and a perfect space...in other words we have lots of weeds, clover and dandelions and some grasses.

I agree it is most likely chemical residue from the clippings. No chemicals here in the lawn. I have a bag of weed and feed that must be five years old or more.
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Old July 6, 2019   #10
Nan_PA_6b
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Maya I've had this, too. But it's not always herbicide. I bought a seedling and kept it in the house for about a month. At some point it began to grow curled leaves. I cut them off and the replacement leaves were also curled; eventually I threw it away. I've had others that I grew myself and planted out; some got curly tops. Cutting off 3" more than the curly part allowed some of them to grow correctly; others didn't. It happens occasionally and randomly in my garden. One plant will be curly and all the rest surrounding it will be fine, so probably not herbicide. (Also, my neighbors near the garden don't spray). I've never found any bugs, and don't know the true cause, but since it's rare, I just pull any plant that gets it too bad.
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