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Holes in several tomato leaves

by Stephanie
(Newport, NH, USA)

Q. I keep finding holes in the tomato leaves. Some books tell me that it's normal and some say it's not at all. I'm really confused!

A. Holes in leaves indicate something is eating away at foliage. Sounds like a pest. There are at least four culprits who may be snacking on your tomato leaves! You can figure out which by studying the hole pattern and looking for pests themselves.

  1. Tomato hornworms (or tobacco hornworms). They hide on leaves' underside and eat through tomato plants mercilessly. If holes are large and chewed, look for hornworms. Treat by handpicking or with a natural insecticide.
  2. Flea beetles. These fellows leave an array of tiny holes. Tomato leaves look like a sieve or like they may have been attacked by a miniature shotgun. Treat organically with pyrethrin.
  3. Aphids. Hungry little pests! They're tiny but they can do some damage. You'll see them gathering on leaf tops and undersides. A good shot of water can often disperse aphids. Or try insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  4. Slugs. They prefer to work in the darkness. Slugs leave large, ragged holes. Treat them by placing out slug traps.

Good luck and happy gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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Jun 14, 2014
Holes in leaves
by: Anonymous

I believe I have a flea beetle problem and it says treat organically with pyrethrine. I didn't know pyrethrine was organic. Is there a special type or brand that is?

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