How to cure diseased tomato plants

Written by gae-lynn woods
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How to cure diseased tomato plants
Protect your tomato plants from damaging pests and diseases. (saashi/iStock/Getty Images)

Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables to grow in the home garden. Unfortunately, they are subject to numerous bacterial diseases and viruses that affect fruit production. Some tomato diseases, such as wilts and viruses, cannot be cured. Instead, good practices such as clearing away and destroying diseased tomatoes and plants, controlling insects, using mulches on bare soil, and consistent crop rotation can help eradicate these diseases and others. Saving your tomatoes from problems involves early diagnosis and quick, sometimes persistent, treatment.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Calcium chloride spray
  • Copper fungicide
  • Carbendazim spray
  • Fertilisers high in potash and phosphate

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Instructions

    Blossom end rot treatment

  1. 1

    Remove tomatoes that develop a sunken patch at the blossom end.

  2. 2

    Spray affected plants with a gardening product containing calcium chloride.

  3. 3

    Keep the soil moist to help the plant increase its uptake of calcium, as recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society.

    Tomato blight prevention

  1. 1

    Water only at the base of the plant; do not water fruit or leaves as the spores that cause blights are spread by water and wind.

  2. 2

    Water in the morning to give foliage time to dry during the day, limiting the blight spores ability to infect the plant.

  3. 3

    Mulch soil around the plant's base to keep spores in the soil from splattering on to the plant during rains.

  4. 4

    Remove all diseased tomato shoots and leaves, and any plants that are severely diseased.

  5. 5

    Use copper-based fungicides to treat early signs of blight and as a preventive measure.

    Mould treatments

  1. 1

    Spray infected plants with carbendazim and improve air circulation by venting greenhouses or pruning tomato plants in gardens to create space between plants.

  2. 2

    Remove dead and injured tomato plant parts before they can become infected.

  3. 3

    Remove infected areas promptly, cutting back into healthy growth.

  4. 4

    Mulch soil around the plant's base to keep spores in the soil from splattering on to the plant during rains.

    Tomato greenback and blotches

  1. 1

    Feed plants with potash and phosphates.

  2. 2

    Provide shade for plants situated in hot, bright sunlight, which can cause heat injury.

  3. 3

    Ensure adequate air circulation around plants and keep them well-watered.

Tips and warnings

  • Plant tomato varieties that resist diseases prevalent in your area.
  • Clean gardening tools after use to ensure that diseases present in the soil are not spread among crops.
  • Do not add diseased plant material to the compost heap or dig it into your soil as a green manure. Diseases can survive composting and decomposition, infecting the following year's crops. Instead, burn these materials or take them to a rubbish tip.

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