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Why do the tops of my tomatoes have raised bumps?

by Mary
(southern New Jersey)

Q. My tomatoes have bumps on the top that grow into each other. The bumps even form smiley faces. Some fruit has growths that look like small horns protruding from the top. All the tomatoes are large in size; some fruit are normal-looking (no raised bumps) but not as large. What are these bumps and what can I do to help my tomatoes?

A. Bacterial speck, bacterial spot, and bacterial canker all exhibit raised spots on fruit. The diseases are often confused because their symptoms are similar -- as are the control methods. No varieties are completely resistant to the "bacterial three"; Quick Pick, Floramerica and Early Girl have a bit of resistance to bacterial speck.

To control, take the follow steps: rotate tomatoes every year. Water at the soil line so as to not spread diseases easily. Treat plants with (chlorothalonil fungicide (sold as Fungonil)or copper-based fungicides (like liquid Bonide) to prevent onset or worsening symptoms.

Good luck and happy gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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