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Old July 10, 2017   #1
LDiane
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My brother's tomato plants have very thick leaves - they don't look like leaves at all. There are no insects visible.

It is only plants from his seeds from last year's tomatoes, that are affected. Tomato plants that I gave him are fine, as are different vegetables, like lettuce and chard, growing nearby.

He has grown tomatoes using his own seeds for many years and has never had problems, except for late blight some years. He does not ferment his seeds - just dries them straight out of the tomato. Last year's tomatoes had no diseases.
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Old July 10, 2017   #2
Spartanburg123
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I had a similar event this spring, and lost three plants in pots. I think it was Tomato Mosaic Virus, similar to Tobacco Mosaic Virus. Come to find out that my son was spitting his tobacco juice into these three pots, and the plants died from it. Here is a picture of a few of my affected plants...
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File Type: jpg RY Sick 1 4-26-17.JPG (144.3 KB, 58 views)
File Type: jpg RY Sick 2 4-26-17.JPG (146.6 KB, 60 views)
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Old July 10, 2017   #3
gorbelly
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LDiane, yours looks more like herbicide injury than a virus. Unfortunately an increasingly common problem.

Possible sources: weedkiller used either on your property or a neighboring property, drift of weed killer from nearly agricultural fields or parks, weed killer on grass clippings from treated lawns, weed killer residue in compost, manure, or mulch, weed killer residue in bottles/tanks/sprayers used to spray your tomato plants that once held any kind of herbicide...

Tomatoes are especially sensitive to even very minute amounts of weed killer. Other plants may be exposed but not affected to the same extent or at all.
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Old July 10, 2017   #4
LDiane
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Except that the tomato plants I grew from seed and gave him, which are planted in the same bed, have not been affected.

The plants were grown in pots before being transplanted to his garden, so the original potting mix may be at fault. I always use Sunshine Mix for my seedlings. I'll ask him what he uses.

Last edited by LDiane; July 10, 2017 at 01:50 AM.
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Old July 10, 2017   #5
KarenO
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Tomato mosaic virus is seed borne.
This would explain the selective nature of the symptoms you have observed.
Unfortunately it is also extremely contagious by handling.
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Old July 10, 2017   #6
gorbelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDiane View Post
Except that the tomato plants I grew from seed and gave him, which are planted in the same bed, have not been affected.
That can happen sometimes--drift will hit just a portion of plants. I had recent herbicide drift from my neighbor spraying her lawn that hit only two eggplants out of 9 plants, skipped over the bed next to it, and then affected one pepper plant in the corner of the following bed. Air currents are capricious.

Or it's possible that, unless he planted your tomatoes out exactly when he planted his out, the exposure happened in a time window when your plants were not out there.

Or perhaps he naturally favored the plants he nurtured from seed over yours and applied compost or something to them that he did not apply to your plants.

It's no more or less likely that a virus struck only his plants and not yours.

Some viruses are seedborne, but you say the seeds were saved from healthy plants.

If it's TMV, it could be from human handling. Does your brother smoke or use tobacco? Smokers/tobacco users sometimes transmit TMV via their hands from infected tobacco products. Maybe he handled his plants while he had the virus on him but didn't have the virus on him when he handled your plants.

At any rate, whether it's a virus or herbicide injury, the prognosis is equally poor for those plants. They will be stunted and produce badly, and what fruit they do produce will probably be deformed and unpalatable.
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Old July 10, 2017   #7
gorbelly
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IMO, it's far more likely to be herbicide. Herbicide injury is much more common than viruses. And TMV doesn't typically produce such tight "shepherd's crook" and "clubbed" leaves so uniformly. I would suspect one of the -pyralids, which are common in manures and composts as well as grass clippings.

Aminopyralid damage of tomato:

Source: http://www.growyourown.info/page164.html
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Old July 10, 2017   #8
jillian
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That is most definitely herbicide damage, severe. I know because unfortunately it happened to mine last year. Bummer!
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Old July 10, 2017   #9
LDiane
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Thank you all.

Herbicide drift would explain it, and the two sets of tomatoes were planted at different times.

I wonder if the vineyard down the road gets sprayed?
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Old July 10, 2017   #10
Nematode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDiane View Post
Thank you all.

Herbicide drift would explain it, and the two sets of tomatoes were planted at different times.

I wonder if the vineyard down the road gets sprayed?
Vineyards are not likely sources of drift, as grape are also quite susceptible to herbicide damage.
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Old July 10, 2017   #11
gorbelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDiane View Post
Thank you all.

Herbicide drift would explain it, and the two sets of tomatoes were planted at different times.

I wonder if the vineyard down the road gets sprayed?
As Nematode points out, the vineyard is unlikely. But roadsides, on the other hand, often get sprayed in some municipalities. Oblivious neighbors are probably the most common source of aerial drift where I am. The irrational obsession with weed-free lawns + the proliferation of easily available herbicides in retail weed killer products = big headaches for tomato (and eggplant and pepper and potato) gardeners. Any time one of my immediate neighbors has had a landscaping or lawn service in, I brace myself for the fallout.

Note that agricultural spraying can drift for a mile or more. So it could be from fields far away. In which case, I hope the vineyard's grapes were OK.
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Old July 10, 2017   #12
Cole_Robbie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDiane View Post
The plants were grown in pots before being transplanted to his garden, so the original potting mix may be at fault. I always use Sunshine Mix for my seedlings. I'll ask him what he uses.
If there was any manure or compost in the mix at all, and it is contaminated with herbicide, then the symptoms are going to be very similar to spray drift.

If you have any of the material left over, sprout a bean seed in it and see what the leaves on the bean plant look like. It's an easy test for contamination.
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Old July 10, 2017   #13
jtjmartin
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I had never heard of herbicide drift until some of my plants were hit this year (though I may have been the "driftor").

Just reading back issues of Mother Earth News on vacation: big problem for veggies and vineyards as Nematode said:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organ...0-zw0z1310ztri
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