Tomato problems

My tomatoes don’t normally get this (second picture) problem until mid-July. Since they are determinate, and it doesn’t seem to affect the fruits, I usually just let the plant die. These were fresh seeds, from a new source, but I’m thinking it’s bacterial spec or spot, both of which are in the seeds. 3 of my 5 plants have it. sigh But only one looks affected. The others look good (first picture).

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Here in the south east… leaf blight on tomatoes is just something you have to live with. It’s going to happen.

What you have there… looks a little different than what happens here… we usually start with yellowing spots which get larger… and often turn into bullseye looking spots darker in the middle brown black surrounded by yellow or light brown and yellow.

It happens to wild simulated ginseng in the woods too… especially when you plant it too thick. With extra rainy spring summer can wipe out lots of ginseng tops.

On tomatoes… I remove infected leaves branches as they start showing up. Best not to work them when the plants are moist… early afternoon or when the leaves branches are dry… work one plant at a time… clip off diseased leaves branches… and put in trash bag… do not compost that. Wash / clean disinfect your hands arms… and clipper… then work the next plant.

Removing all tomato leaves branches below ripening fruit… does not seem to negatively affect my harvest at all… still get LOADS of big beef tomatoes… rutgers… sun sugar… etc.

Good luck.


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Thanks @TNHunter. That was my plan, plus a little copper for good measure. I normally just let it go, but it usually hits in July. I suspect the problem is we got 3 inches of rain in 2 days, followed by cool, and now it’s getting hot and humid quickly.

FWIW, I grew up in east TN. Little atomic town with summers on Watts Bar. Bliss! It’s humid here, but not like home - with it’s almost tropical 4pm thundershower daily.

It looks like septoria spot. Yes a curse. You can slow it with your plan but it will take the plant in the end. Start using mulch to prevent soil from splashing on the plant. Tim’s Black Ruffles is an heirloom that is the most septoria spot resistant heirloom I have grown. It does get it 4 to 6 weeks after all others have it. Which is enough to finish the season.

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So my thing with tomatoes… I actually don’t like/mild allergy/intolerance to most tomatoes. I’ve narrowed it down to the large beefsteak tomatoes (pretty much any) or maybe unprocessed tomatoes. So, I pretty much only grow Principe Borghese, because they are so meaty and dry so well. I love them so much, I don’t stray into something more resistant. If I were smart, I’d save the seeds from my healthiest plants. But I always think about that after the fact. Maybe this year?

@RubyTue ---- East TN is my favorite part of the state… we spent a week in Gatlinburg (log cabin) and all that, back in early May. Love it over there. I live in southern middle, but if I ever relocate in this State… it would be East TN for sure.

I got out this morning and worked in my garden some… here is what my TN Big Beef tomatoes are looking like today. The leaves and stems are still pretty clean… but if you get down and look close at some of the lower branches and leaves… yep that yellow, brown, bullseye stuff is starting.

This evening when they are good and dry I will remove some of those lower branches that are starting to spot.


Here is a close up of some Big Beef… they really load up. My first 3 clusters have a really nice fruit set and 4 and 5 are in progress.

I start mine off single stem, then change to two stems once they hit that panel.


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If you are starting your own tomatoes from seed and you really suspect your seed source may be causing this… here is something that “might” help… you might research it, or test it on a small batch next time…

I know this works well on Ginseng seed, not sure about tomato seed, but it might…

Almost any source of Ginseng (stratified seed) that you can purchase… the plants were grown in a large scale operation, most are artificial shade grown in fields, cultivated soil, and the crop is gown densely and they have to spray regularly to keep fungal issues at bay to get a crop.

Gown in those conditions it can mature and produce nice sized roots in 3-4-5 years… they they are low quaility roots, they do not look like wild ginseng at all, and sell for a fraction of the price.

But operations like that are the sources of the seed that is available for sale.

So any stratified ginseng seed you purchase, very likely has fungal issues, on the seed coat…

When you receive a batch of stratified ginseng seed - it is highly recommended that you first float test it… seed that sinks is good, if it floats that is a sure sign it is diseased and bad, possibly even hollow…

The ones that sink and are determined to be good, you soak them in a 10% Clorox solution for 10 minutes. Then rinse them good before planting.

The first time I soaked a couple pounds of Ginseng seed in 10% Clorox solution… I thought, will these survive ? But they sure did and had excellent germination.

Ginseng seed and tomato seeds are quite different so not sure that would work with them, but might be worth a try.

Good Luck !


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I might have to try that next year. But, thinking it through, it might just be an issue complicated by the climate and a non-disease resistant heirloom. Because, when I think about it, it’s happened no matter my source. Last year, I found one nursery with starts, and drove 90 minutes to get them - I didn’t start my seeds early. Usually I get seeds from Southern Exposure, which has great seeds. This year, it was someone else. I will focus more on early control now.

I’m so jealous you already have tomatoes. Up here, it’s considered bragable to have fruits by the 4th of July. I just have my first flowers.

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The yellowing or spotting will not stop your tomatoes from ripening. My aphids are now moving to my tomatoes after leaving my apple trees. I cannot spray my tomatoes with an aphid pesticide as I have never seen so many flowers on tomato plants before in my entire life. Growing in this zone is incredible.


Yes… @mrsg47 - I do know that… but it sure will make them look bad.

And removing them early seems to slow the spread — from progressing up the plant.

In late July - August here, Sun Scald can sure be a issue, if you don’t have tomato leaves and stems shading your fruit some. So I don’t want my leaf blight, to get bad up above my fruit that has not ripened yet… I am ok with it saying below, and I will take those out to slow it down some.


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I don’t think it matters. I have not used store bought seeds in years. I would save seeds now. If you prefer the other line sure wait till you get some. I like dark tomatoes so I only grow three or four dark tomatoes these days.


I had this on most of the leaves on my tomatoes last week after we had days of cold rain and temps down to 45f, after temps in the 90s. Not just lower leaves, and I have the soil covered. Plus it is very early for blight?

Anyway, new growth since then does not have it so I’m hoping they can pull out of it.

Your weather sounds like ours. 90s, 50s with rain, 90s again. I guess that triggered blight early.

What do you mean:
“I start mine off single stem, then change to two stems once they hit that panel.”
Something to do with with no suckers then a sucker in addition to main stem?

@Franp – yes that is it… I remove all suckers until tall enough to reach my cattle panel trellis… then one sucker is allowed to grow… and all others are removed… so you have two stems going up at that point.

Big Beef tomatoes are quite aggressive growers and at two stems they still produce nice large tomatoes… and plenty of them.

Best big beefy producer that I have found.

I have grown them in cages and let all suckers grow… but there is so much foliage produced that my leaf blight issue really kicks in and goes wild. Not nice.


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Pic is a celebrity.
At first set of flowers the plant forks… A little hard to tell which one is the sucker and which one is the main stem.
Both have flowers ready to bloom right away without expending plant energy on a long long stem.
I think I’ll let one continue growing and the other I’ll let it develop one set of flowers, let it grow a bit and then stop it. This way it’ll have some tomatoes even though it’s not the main stem.
Any thoughts?

Looks like a very healthy plant. I have a couple of indeterminatess doing that but I’ll leave them and see how they compare to others. Sometimes they are more comfortable doing what they want. What variety is it?

Is Celebrity indeterminate? I think those are the ones people tend to prune suckers. I’d probably be like @Quint and just let it go to make a decision later, if at all. Maybe it just wants two trunks.

Yes indeterminate.
Agree, I’ll let it go, if continues to make lots of flower buds on both stems

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