Tomato leaf curl

Tomato leaf curl.

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A Speckled Roman tomato plant has developed curled leaves, as can be seen in the photo above. According to Ohio State Extension, tomato leaf curl is caused either by herbicide damage or by irregular watering. I’m pretty sure herbicide damage is not the problem. First, because I don’t use herbicides, and second, because only 1 tomato plant is affected.

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So, the problem must be irregular watering. There are 2 drip irrigation hoses running through the raised bed in question. They both are situated very close to the tomato stalk. The water monitor shown above indicates more moisture in this raised bed than in the neighboring beds, although not an excessive amount. The water monitor indicates relative moisture. In my case, under 2 is dry. A 4 reading seems about right. Upper levels of soil at 2″ are usually drier than lower subsoil readings. In this case, I think the problem may be that the hoses are too close to the tomato stalk. I will move the hoses more toward the edges of the raised bed and then see what happens.

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Talk about microclimates. More moisture in 1 bed than in another bed right beside it causes tomato leaf curl in one plant but not in others.

I wonder if Speckled Roman plants are more susceptible to tomato leaf curl than other varieties are. Fortunately, this is not some dread malady that will spread, or that requires disposing of the plant.

The Ohio State Extension article is reassuring that tomato leaf curl is a response to an environmental condition. Only leaves are affected. Flowers and fruit are not. New leaf growth will likely be normal. Good to know. This Speckled Roman tomato plant looks awful right now. We’ll see what happens.

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This is an update as of July 13. With all due respect to Ohio State Extension, this Speckled Roman tomato plant is beyond recovery, as is obvious in the photo above. In a few minutes, I will go out and pull this dying plant and dispose of it curbside. I’m thankful just 1 plant is involved here, and that it’s a Speckled Roman, since I have more Speckled Roman plants than any other variety. Anyway, now I have a tomato cage to use elsewhere. Sour grapes. Never cared to that tomato plant anyway.

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But wait. When I went out to dispose of the dying tomato plant, I noticed a new shoot growing alongside. So I cut the dying plant off and left the root with the new shoot. It looks healthy. We’ll watch what it does.

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