Tomato problems:
tomato leaves are turning yellow
and stems are dying off

by Mandy S.
(North Queensland, Australia)

Dear Tomato Dirt,

Can you help please? The leaves on my tomato plant are yellowing and the stems are falling off. Am I over-watering? Do they have blight? I really appreciate your help.
Thank you,
Mandy

Dear Mandy,

Sorry about your tomatoes! (We've been there.) Yellowing leaves and dying stems are symptoms of several problems. But keep in mind that they rarely appear alone. Usually, your tomatoes give you another clue to diagnose the problem. Study your plants carefully. Use this checklist to help figure out which situation fits you.

  • Over-watering or under-watering. If your season has been especially wet and cool, your tomatoes may be "drowning." Water can clog air pockets in the soil and prevent plants from getting needed air. On the other hand, if you're in a heat wave with excessive temperatures, your plants could be over-stressed and under-watered, which could cause them to drop leaves. Make sure plants are getting 1-3 inches of water a week - on the high end of that if it's hot and on the low end if it's cool.
  • Early blight or Septoria leaf spot. Yellowing leaves are a symptom for both diseases. To tell the difference, check to see if there are spots on the leaves. Early blight exhibits dark concentric circles on leaves and stems. Septoria leaf spot presents small dark spots on the lower leaves. Read more about different kinds of tomato blight and how to tell them apart.
  • Tomato wilts. Fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt also exhibit yellowed leaves. Fusarium often just affects one side of the plant. Verticillium encircles the plant, but the yellowed pattern on leaves is V-shaped.
  • Curly top virus. Infected plants turn yellow and stop growing.
  • Pests. Aphids, whiteflies, flea beetles, tomato hornworm and tobacco hornworm, and psyllids attack tomato plants and leave holes, dew, or chewing injuries to plants -- in addition to yellowed leaves. Check undersides of leaves and along stems for pests!

    Most tomato problems are treatable once you identify the source. Track rain and watering patterns (to see if it's a watering issue). Study the yellowing pattern in the leaves (to see if it's caused by a disease). Look for other additional damage (to see if it's caused by a pest).

    Good luck!
    Your friends at Tomato Dirt

Comments for Tomato problems:
tomato leaves are turning yellow
and stems are dying off

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Jun 23, 2015
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to much rain help NEW
by: Anonymous

Help please! I planted 32 tomato plants around mothers day. I live in northern llinois about 3 hours from Chicago. As most of you know we've been getting hit with almost continual rain for about 3 weeks now on top of the tornados that have been getting closer and closer to home. The ones last night were about 30 miles from home 😢 but my main question is all of my tomatoes are looking like they are suffering from over watering. The lowest branches are turning yellow and falling off. They all look terrible! I'm super upset and I have no idea what to do to save or help them. The buds aren't molding and there aren't signs of root rot yet but with the weather outlook the next few days (severe thunderstorms) I'm horribly worried! Is there anything I can do? I haven't watered by hand in over three weeks. I'm weeding and tilling every 5-6 days. Any suggestions would be so appreciated

May 23, 2015
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yellow leaves NEW
by: jeffery

My tomatoes plants are just bearing but I got yellow leaves with spots and stems are turning soft and some plants have very few leaves and stems what can I do

May 02, 2015
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Good NEW
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Feb 23, 2015
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keep in mind NEW
by: frankeinstein

The fact about the decaying or failure of the tomato plant is its susceptibility to variety of diseases. They are Alterneta canker, Bacterial canker, Bacterial speck, Bacterial Spot etc. and so many. Here I think the plant is effected with the Bacterial canker. It will make the leaves yellow and kill the stem from bottom upElectronic health record specialist.

Oct 07, 2013
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plant stems have fungus (white all around stems) NEW
by: Anonymous

I haven't discovered what is causing it, I sprayed it with a fungicide and didn't help. Can't figure it out any suggestions. Plants were find for a about 3 months but now is effecting even new growth It a white fungus of some sort I think! thanks for any suggestions?

May 10, 2013
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I don't know what to do
by: Anonymous

I plant to tomato plants just a few weeks ago, one is a cherry the other is a big boy. The big boy took off and has already began to yield. My cherry, on the other hand hand a couple blossoms on it, then it began to look sick and it stopped growing. I have no idea what to do or whats wrong with it. I want to save it if possible since cherries are my favorite.

May 10, 2013
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I don't know what to do
by: Anonymous

I plant to tomato plants just a few weeks ago, one is a cherry the other is a big boy. The big boy took off and has already began to yield. My cherry, on the other hand hand a couple blossoms on it, then it began to look sick and it stopped growing. I have no idea what to do or whats wrong with it. I want to save it if possible since cherries are my favorite.

Apr 25, 2011
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Yellowing leaves
by: Dave

Hello, I have started my tomatop plants from seeds indoors. They were growing great until I transplanted them into larger clear plastic cups. When transplating them, I added more starter dirt to completely fill the cup and add water when ever they look dry. I have them indoors still under 3 plant lights. Do I need to poke holes in the cups? Could this be the reason my plants seeded to stop growing and the leave truning yellow? Please help,

Dave

Jul 27, 2010
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thanks
by: mandy stone

thank you so much for your reply, what a great page I am telling all my mates who grow tomatoes. thanks again

Jul 27, 2010
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thanks
by: mandy stone

thank you so much for your reply, what a great page I am telling all my mates who grow tomatoes. thanks again

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