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Old June 16, 2021   #1
paradajky
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Default soil disease or other?

Hi, tomatoes in ground since late April, majority exhibiting stunted growth, and now beginning to die off; this is my second year with tomatoes and all the diseases and problems look the same to me, sorry! Soil analysis completed before planting in March/April said clay dirt was very low on nitrogen and iron, and suggested I mix in a combination of compost, feather and blood meals. A few plants exhibited excess nitrogen (I think feathermeal causes this, based on my container experience last year, a long story), while most were stunted and now are showing signs of disease in the lower leaves. Coastal southern california. They began showing such signs about two weeks after planting, but I thought it was simply due to the constant overcast weather in May and early June.

Ones pictures were grown from seed, although even the few hybrids purchased from nursery are exhibiting similar characteristics (big beef, champion, early girl). The Black Cherry pictured seems to have a different issue from the rest, however. Two plants have died (japanese black trieffle and an opalka), and several look like they are on the way out. I pulled the two out and the roots looked okay.

Are these plants salvageable, or should we scrape this and move on? Would appreciate some feedback if you have some time, thank you!
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File Type: jpg marianna's peace.jpg (166.7 KB, 244 views)
File Type: jpg black cherry.jpg (161.1 KB, 248 views)
File Type: jpg super san marzano closeup.jpg (172.0 KB, 246 views)
File Type: jpg super san marzano.jpg (185.2 KB, 247 views)
File Type: jpg eva purple ball.jpg (200.9 KB, 247 views)
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Old June 17, 2021   #2
b54red
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I can't tell for sure but it does look like it might be fusarium wilt in the early stages; but it also looks like you could have some Early Blight to go along with it. The easiest way to tell if it is fusarium wilt is to cut off one of the more affected stems and look for slight browning or dark yellowing in the vascular tissue just under the skin.

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Old June 17, 2021   #3
paradajky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b54red View Post
I can't tell for sure but it does look like it might be fusarium wilt in the early stages; but it also looks like you could have some Early Blight to go along with it. The easiest way to tell if it is fusarium wilt is to cut off one of the more affected stems and look for slight browning or dark yellowing in the vascular tissue just under the skin.
Interesting, I've taken better photos of the leaves and tried cutting the stems in half to see if there's anything, but forum software may be resizing them to be of much use. I'm not sure I do see anything conclusive?

Is it possible this is fertilizer burn?

Several of the tomatoes impacted are supposed to be resistant to fusarium wilt, but I guess if the plant wasn't strong to begin with, it could have helped it set in?
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Old June 22, 2021   #4
zipcode
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Can't say from the picture, in any case fusarium is a strong possibility.
The plants don't look that good, where did you see any N excess, I mostly see a big N deficiency (and P, and possibly others). It is quite that the deficiencies are caused by poor root function due to fusarium I guess.
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Old June 22, 2021   #5
paradajky
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Can't say from the picture, in any case fusarium is a strong possibility.
The plants don't look that good, where did you see any N excess, I mostly see a big N deficiency (and P, and possibly others). It is quite that the deficiencies are caused by poor root function due to fusarium I guess.

Hmm, okay. We went ahead and purchased over a dozen new tomatoes this weekend from the nursery, and put them into the basic SWC setup using two 5 gallon buckets. I know there are better ways, but we were pressed for time, hopefully, not too late in the season here in coastal southern california.



I did not take pictures of the ones with N excess. The vines were thick, the tops curled inwards with new leaves coming out super mangled. A couple also had stalks growing from the blossom stems, with blossom drop. A few weeks of deep watering, and the few plants with excess are returning to normal. I'm drawing a conclusion that too much feathermeal does this.. I had exact same symptoms last year in my pots when I added a small handful of left-over feathermeal. The tomatoes had a terribly mealy texture, but still tasted good.
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Old June 25, 2021   #6
Milan HP
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Hello Paradajky,
this looks pretty much like what I have (or rather my toms) suffered from for years. My diagnosis is Septoria as it only affects leaves. No damage on the stems and the fruit are also okay even though smaller than usual. That's probably because some of the plants lose half or even more of their leafage. Actually, I can also see the typical brown spots in your pictures.

Fusarium wilt would demonstrate itself by making the plants "sad" even though they had enough water. You haven't mentioned anything like that.

I don't know exactly about feather meal, but blood meal is a rich source of bioavailable nitrogen, but it contains fairly little phosphorus. And stunt is a typical symptom of underdeveloped root system. Feather meal does contain 12% of N, but that nitrogen is slow-releasing and not easily available for the plants. My advice is to give them some P rich fertilization.

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Old June 26, 2021   #7
paradajky
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Hi Milan:


There's a mixture: some tomatoes plants are wilting, some are growing but yellowing, and others simply look anemic. The soil analysis I had done showed sufficient nutrients in everything but N, and the analyst recommended mixing in blood and feather meals for their short and long term properties in the soil. Happy to post up the analysis if anyone would like. I have applied liquid fertilizer higher in P and K a couple times, spaced out 2 weeks, with no visible improvement.

Couple pictures attached, it's very hard to focus and really see what they look like (I also tried a video but it didn't really work out). The Black Cherry is completely wilted to the top, and the Super San Marzano looks okay on the top 1/2 but yellowing and dying on the bottom half. The SSM is supposed to be pretty disease resistant. Not pictured, we have a Kellogg's Breakfast, Big Beef, and Early Girl which look like a mixture of the two, wilting and yellowing. At this point, we're writing them off, will hopefully get a few tomatoes from the patch. We will also give it a rest in this section for a year (maybe grow cover crop and amend the soil better, or, build atop a raised bed), and revisit in a couple years, hopefully with better results!
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Old July 1, 2021   #8
Milan HP
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Hello Paradajky,
I've just arrived from the "wilderness", i.e. our cottage. No computer, no TV, no smart phones.

I am really sorry to see the plants in such a state. I've done some research for the causes. I don't know if that can help, but the results are interesting. SSM is resistant to Fusarium wilt but only race 1 and definitely not to Septoria. The significance of FW races is that Cal usually gets hit by race 2 and 3. Here's the link but I am almost sure you've seen it.

https://vric.ucdavis.edu/ucd-access/...Dec%202014.pdf

To me it looks like you've been very unlucky: 2 really bad pathogens in one garden (I still believe it's sls in your SSM). And what's even worse: they both love hot weather. Better luck next time.

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Old July 1, 2021   #9
paradajky
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Okay, thanks for the help Milan. Bummer news but at least now I can work to better understand how to grow around it for next year. And welcome back
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Old July 2, 2021   #10
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It does look very likely that the main problem is fusarium with that wilting of green branches. I think grafting awaits you in the future. There is a thread from 2017, lots of useful info from Bill, what rootstocks he uses for fusarium, this is fortunately one problem I don't have.
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Old July 2, 2021   #11
Milan HP
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Me neither, thanks to Mother Nature. On the other hand there are enough other problems: the ultimate enemy being late blight, after that there's Septoria, which I don't know how to get rid of as it winters in my flat where I grow my seedlings. It isn't as deadly as Fusarium or late blight, but it makes my yield much lower. This year it seems quite okay in the garden: somehow the seedlings protect themselves as I don't use any sprays.

As to late blight, I've lost most of my fear of it as I mainly grow resistant varieties that have proved their resistance beyond any doubt.

So I hope this year ends well even though it started pretty badly weatherwise.
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Old July 5, 2021   #12
paradajky
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Zipcode, thanks, I spent some time skimming grafting and will be researching it more thoroughly next few weeks. We're going to leave the section of the garden alone next season, maybe grow some other veges or "cover crops" there.

Milan: for sure, the tomatoes surviving in the soil right now are stunted and have much smaller fruit than expected - some should be ready in the next week, I'm curious whether there'll be any flavor impact. What's surprising, a few of the plants appear to have recovered, and some actually have very healthy looking suckers growing from the bottom.
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Old July 7, 2021   #13
Milan HP
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Hello, Paradajky,
I suppose you are talking about the plants with brown spots and no wilt. That's exactly my experience. Fruits are smaller, lower foliage dried and gone. But they grow new shoots that look healthy, but as the disease progresses the shoots get infected too. I don't use any sprays, so the only measure I take is getting rid of all visibly infected leaves a long time before they die. Actually, last year some of my infected indet plants bore fruit from April till the end of November - on my balcony where there was no late blight. And their taste was unchanged, maybe a bit less sweet due to not enough leaves. Unfortunately unlike ours, your climate works for Septoria. This year 3 of my dets grown indoors died (or almost died) after they gave me the very first batch of ripe tomatoes. Indets seem to be more tolerant. So I'd say your SSM (possibly also other indets) isn't a write-off yet. That is if they aren't affected by Fusarium as well.

Sls is not nearly as deadly as late blight and there are quite efficient sprays you can use.
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Old July 8, 2021   #14
paradajky
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Milan, thanks, that makes sense.

The good news is that there are still some tomatoes for harvest, this is what I picked yesterday (SSM, early girl, carbon, marianna's peace). So sad, but happy we have something!
They were smaller, sure, but flavor and texture were fine. Based on what I'm seeing in the garden, I think we'll get these amounts of tomatoes every other week for the next month or so, hopefully enough to tie us over until the emergency bucket ones start to produce (all of those now look fantastic!).
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Old July 9, 2021   #15
Milan HP
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Hello Paradajky,
they look perfectly healthy. Yes, I'm sure you'll get more of them. Nothing is really as bad as it looks at first sight.
I have good news from my garden: 7 tomatoes are ripening, maybe more. Strangely enough, not really the earliest varieties. I'll have tomato salad soon.
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