In order to harvest healthy ripe tomatoes this year it is important to properly identify, treat, and prevent common tomato plant ailments. Once this is mastered, tomatoes will be one of the easiest plants to grow and produce for friends and family.
To ensure a prosperous harvest of tomato plants from home basic prevention and treatment of various tomato plant ailments will be necessary. This is because if these ailments are left untreated entire tomato plants will fall victim to various diseases, fungi, and pests.
Blossom End Rot
Blossom End Rot is one of the most common ailments amongst all tomato plant ailments. Blossom End Rot can be identified simply by observing the portion of the tomato that is attached to the vine. If the portion of the tomato attached to the vine appears brown and leathery between the size of a dime and a quarter than that specific tomato has developed Blossom End Rot.
Treatment – In order to treat Blossom End Rot the affected tomatoes must be removed. This is because Blossom End Rot can spread to the other tomatoes eventually causing all of the tomatoes to become worthless.
Prevention – Blossom End Rot is caused by a calcium deficiency combined with over pruning and overwatering. However, as long as regular nutrients and water cycles are administered to the plants Blossom End Rot can be avoided altogether.
There are several different stages of Blight. The first stage is Early Blight which can be identified as black and grey spots on the leaves and the early beginnings of tomato growth. The second stage is Southern Blight which can be identified as black and grey spots that exist towards the stem and roots of the tomato plant. The final stage is Late Blight which can be seen as black and grey spots throughout the leaves, vines, and tomatoes themselves. Not treating and preventing Blight in time at any stage can easily attribute to white mold and fungi on the tomato plant.
Treatment – Treatment of blight in its earliest stages is easiest. This can be done simply by removing infected portions of the tomato plants. However, in the later stages of Blight or if there are more infected areas an anti-fungal treatment will have to be purchased or prepared naturally and organically from home.
Prevention – By maintaining routine watering cycles Blight can be easily prevented. Overwatering may contribute to excessive fungi growth which in turn attributes to Blight. Also, by removing prior tomato plants from the gardens, rotating new tomato plants, and allowing for decent air flow Blight can be easily avoided.
Caterpillars are amongst a large variety of bugs that happen to feed off of tomato plants. If not taken care of in time caterpillars may eventually spread throughout the entire tomato plant eating everything in their sight. Of course caterpillars are easy to identify however, in order to effectively fight against them precautionary measures will need to be taken prior to their possible infestation.
Treatment – A wide variety of treatments are available to fight against caterpillar infestations at any local garden store. However, safe natural and organic remedies can be concocted from home. For example, a soap mixture can be prepared that helps deter caterpillars from approaching the plants as well as an apple cider vinegar spray can also be used to further prevent their possible infestations.
Prevention – To effectively prevent caterpillars from infecting tomato plants it is important to maintain the garden in order to discourage their possible habitation. For example, weeds must be continuously removed as caterpillars also feed off of them.
Red Spider Mites
Red Spider Mites are hard to spot upon their immediate arrival unless the tomato plant leaves are turned upside down and examined closely. This is because Red Spider Mites are extremely small in size and do not show any obvious signs of infestations until there are numerous amounts. One of the most obvious clues of Red Spider Mite infestations is the sudden appearance of cobwebs throughout the entire plant.
Treatment – Much like caterpillar infestations Red Spider Mite infestations too can be neutralized with either store bought poisons or by homemade natural and organic remedies. This includes apple cider vinegar spray, soap spray, and also an onion and garlic spray.
Prevention – To properly prevent Red Spider Mites from spreading watering cycles should be administered intermittently to prevent excess moisture. Also, excess weeds should also be removed as they provide a habitation for Red Spider Mites. Homemade natural and organic insecticides can also be used around the tomato plants to prevent Red Spider Mites but should be used sparingly.
Fruit Splitting occurs most frequently when there is sudden growth throughout the tomato plant. Also, when the tomato plant has been dry for too long than is overwatered shortly thereafter. This too can cause the tomato plants to split especially later in their growth phase. Fortunately however, Fruit Splitting is not especially bad for tomato plants nor to eat but can be easily prevented due to the fact that their appearance is not always too appetizing.
Treatment – If Fruit Splitting has not occurred too late in the tomato plants growth phase than it can be reversed. Simply maintain a consistent watering and nutrient cycle so that the tomato plant doesn’t experience too drastic of a difference between too dry and too wet. Fruit Splitting cannot be reversed if it has occurred upon the tomato plants harvest.
Prevention – A continuous consistent watering cycle throughout the tomato plant’s entire life is the best, and for the most part only, way to prevent Fruit Splitting.
“How to Naturally Keep Caterpillars From Eating Tomatoes.” By Jkalal Assar, eHow Contributor.
“Tomato Leaf Diseases.” By Marie Iannotti, About.com Guide