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

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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


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

White spots

Powdery mildew


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

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Stalks are brown and leaves turn brown and dry up 
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