Tomato Woes

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In the last few days, we have gotten some inquiries that led me to have this little write up.  I have gotten several photographs of damage on tomatoes.  The damages are observed as sunken, tan to brown leaf spots.

Tomato seedling leaf exhibiting damage from exposure to cold conditions.

Typically these spots occur in interveinal (between veins) areas.  The same damage occurs on several different varieties of tomatoes.   These inquiries were coming from the Northeast and Central Texas region.  And many of these tomatoes were young and actively growing.  In fact, seedlings appeared to be more affected than others.

This damage is consistent with cold damage.  In a hard freeze, the entire tomato plant will collapse.  However, when it is actively growing and temperature are unusually cold, these symptoms are typically observed.  It was reported that in many parts of Texas where I have received these inquiries from had experienced mid-30 (Farenheit) degree temperatures early last week.  So far, these symptoms have been noted on plants from Erath, Denton, Tarrant and Parker counties.  Please feel free to add your observations to this list. 

Since this already occurred, there is not much you can do to remedy the dead plant parts. There is a good chance that the plant will grow out of the damage if it is not too extensive.  There are some things that you can do if more cold weather is anticipated, so keep this info for the future.  Protecting young plants with mulch or frost cover or even just a cloth to temper the cold will help prevent some of the damage caused by frost.

Special thanks to AgriLife Extension Agriculture and Horticulture county agents from Denton and Parker counties.  And special thanks to Dr. T. Faske (Tarleton State University) for noting some of this phenomenon in the Erath county area.

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