Problems on Tomato Stems: How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Them

Problems on tomato stems can mean the onset of a disease, an attack from a tomato pest, or conditions that can lead to trouble.

Healthy tomato stems are green, thick, and sturdy. Look for these red flags on your tomato stems to quickly identify problems.

Black, brown, or dark spots

Bacterial speck
Bacterial spot
Bacterial wilt
Stem rot

Bumps on stems

Root initials

Cankers, lesions on stems

Alternia stem canker
Bacterial canker
Early blight
Gray mold
Tomato spotted wilt virus

Dark streaks on stems

Buckeye rot
Fusarium crown and root rot
Fusarium wilt
Verticillium wilt

Mushy stems, stem rot

Buckeye rot
Damping off

Stem cracking

Bacterial canker

Stem defoliation

Tobacco hornworm
Tomato hornworm

Stunting

Crown gall
Cucumber mosaic virus
Curly top virus
Herbicide damage
Nitrogen deficiency
Potato leaf roll
Tobacco mosaic virus

White spots

Powdery mildew

Wilting

Bacterial canker
Bacterial pith necrosis
Bacterial wilt
Fusarium wilt
Tomato spotted wilt virus
Verticillium wilt

Steps to take to prevent problems on tomato stems

  • Plant healthy, disease-free plants.
  • Stake plants to allow good air circulation to stems.
  • Water at the base of plants. Overhead water spreads disease easily.
  • Water in the morning or midday to minimize the amount of time leaves are wet.
  • Monitor plants daily to check for pests.
  • Avoid working on plants when leaves are wet.
  • Remove and destroy affected plants at the end of the season.
  • Solarize soil at the end of the season to destroy soil-borne fungi and bacteria.
  • Rotate crops each year.

Get more help with tomato problems

Problems on tomato leaves ...

Problems on tomato fruit ...

Tomato pests and how to deal with them ...

Tomato diseases: how to identify, treat, and prevent them ...

Blossom end rot: how to identify, treat, and prevent it ...


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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Tomato plants have curled leaves and bumps on stems 
Q. Can you tell me what to do to remedy my tomato plant's curling leaves and white bumps on its stem? It has been very hot and dry here and this plant …

Stem has gone brown halfway up Not rated yet
Q. My tomatoes are grown in a greenhouse along with pepper plants. The stems have gone completely brown about half way up the stem, with a brown patch …

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Q. About 2 weeks ago, my tomato plants' stems and leaves started turning black. The fruit themselves is also turning black -- not the bottoms, but the …

Brown spot around cut leaflet scar near soil on stem Not rated yet
Q. I thought I was preventing disease by cutting the low leaflets when the plant was small, but now that it is large (5 feet tall) I just noticed a dark …

Why are my tomato stems going black? Not rated yet
Q. Last year my tomatoes suddenly started to get black leaves. The black colour spread to the stems and finally, the green tomatoes started to turn a brown …

Spindly stems Not rated yet
Q. I have been growing tomatoes in the greenhouse for over 20 years and have never had the problem I have had this year. This year my plants are very spindly …

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If you're planning to build your own tomato garden, you better give a head start for your dream tomato garden by knowing how to plant them and choosing …

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Q. I guess this is not really a problem but just curious. I have what looks like hundreds of tiny roots growing on some of the thicker stems of my tomato …

The leaves on my tomato plants are darkening and yellowing Not rated yet
Q. We leave in Norway and are having a bit of trouble with our Tiger tomato plants. They were grown from seeds and are currently outside on the patio (looking …

White root-looking growths on the stems of my tomato plants Not rated yet
Q. I live in Maryland. We have had a lot of rain in the past week. I have 2 different type tomatoes planted in containers on my deck: "Beefsteak" and "Early …

What In The World Is On My Tomato Stems? Not rated yet
Q. This plant is only a month old. It is Brandy Boy Hybrid. I got it from Burpee. It's growing fast and has lots of flowers on it. But now it's got …

Bumps on tomato plant stem Not rated yet
I have a hanging tomato plant had it for years and I love it. My problem is that this year I have hundreds of small bumps all over the stem and branches …

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