73 articles tagged "Tomato".

Figure 1. Yellowstriped armyworm on tomato leaf.

We are seeing small caterpillars feeding on tomato leaves in high tunnels at Pinney Purdue. The first sign may be feeding partially through the leaf, or ‘windowpane’ feeding, or small holes on the leaf. By turning the leaf over we find a yellowstriped armyworm or hornworm (Figures 1 and 2). In the morning, we find moths clustered along the hipboard at the top of the sidewall (Figure 3). See Rick Foster’s articles in this issue for information on control.  


Figure 1. Hornworm feeding on tomato leaves in a high tunnel.

One of the most impressive insect pests that we deal with on vegetables are the hornworms (Figure 1 and 2). These two species, tomato and tobacco hornworm, can reach up to 4 inches long and consume massive quantities of foliage and fruit. In recent years, we have seen damage in high tunnels that is more serious than we normally see in field situations. The good news is that despite their size, hornworms are relatively easy to kill. A wide variety of insecticides will control them. See pages 143-44 in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for choices. As with most pests, it is better to treat when the hornworms are small because they are easier to kill and because you can avoid most of their damage. Hornworm damage is usually fairly easy to see, either because of the defoliation or the frass (insect poop) that they leave behind. So, scout regularly[Read More…]


I have received some reports of Colorado potato beetles damaging both potatoes and tomatoes, including tomatoes in high tunnels. Both the adults and larvae are voracious feeders. As with most pests, it is best to get potato beetles under control before the populations get too high. Also, killing small larvae is easier than killing large ones, so spraying earlier will provide better control. We have had numerous reports of resistance to the pyrethroids in Indiana, so I generally don’t recommend those products. If you try one and it works, then you probably don’t have a resistant population at this point. For most of the state, I recommend one of the following products, Admire Pro®, Agri-Mek®, Assail, Coragen®, Exirel®, Radiant®, and Rimon®. Note that Coragen® and Radiant® cannot be used in high tunnels.


White mold or timber rot of tomato causes a light brown area on the stem and a wilt of the plant.

White mold has a large host range including tomatoes (where it may be referred to as timber rot), cucumbers, lettuce and snap beans as well as many more. In this article, I will concentrate on white mold on tomatoes in a greenhouse situation. Although white mold will occur in a field situation, this disease is more common in a greenhouse due to the higher relative humidity than in a field situation. Perhaps the most common symptom of white mold of tomato is the light brown area on the lower stem (Figure 1 and 2). This brown area is essentially dead and will result in the wilt and death of the plant above that point. Either on the outside of this dead area or inside the stem, dark, irregularly shaped fungal bodies can usually be found. These fungal bodies (known as sclerotia) are diagnostic of white mold. Recently, I had a complaint of severe[Read More…]


Figure 3: Mottling of a tomato leaf caused by tomato spotted wilt virus.

Tomato spotted wilt virus can cause stunting (Figure 1), necrotic ring spots (Figure 2), mottling (Figure 3) or chlorosis (Figure 4). In Figure 5, a pepper plant is shown with a ring-like lesion due to tomato spotted wilt virus. Figure 6 is a photo of a pepper transplant with mottled lesions due to impatiens necrotic spot virus. Both TSWV and INSV can cause symptoms on many hosts including ornamentals. Figure 7 is a photo of INSV symptoms on begonia. For more information about the biology and management of these diseases see here.


A tomato leaf with necrotic rings caused by tomato spotted wilt virus.

While many virus diseases affect pepper and tomato plants, in the Midwest, the most common virus diseases of these two crops are tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and Impatiens necrotic spot virus (INVV).  These diseases are usually observed in greenhouse or high tunnel situations. The two viruses, TSWV and INSV are closely related. In fact, at one time, they were both considered TSWV. Therefore, the symptoms, biology and management of these two diseases are similar. This article discusses the symptoms, biology and management of these two diseases. Both TSWV and INSV affect many hosts, including vegetables and flowering ornamentals. Symptoms vary according to host, stage of plant affected and environmental conditions. Both diseases can cause stunting, yellowing, necrotic rings, leaf mottle and more. Figure 1 shows a tomato leaf with necrotic rings caused by TSWV. Figure 2 shows a pepper transplant with ring spots caused by INSV. Additional symptoms may[Read More…]


: These lesions of bacterial speck of tomato were observed on a tomato transplant for sale to homeowners at a retail outlet. Tomato transplants should be inspected for disease symptoms during production or at delivery.

Many Indiana growers may have tomato transplants growing in a greenhouse for field or greenhouse/high tunnel production. The three most likely diseases are bacterial spot, bacterial speck and bacterial canker. This article describes symptoms for these diseases and some management options. While these bacterial diseases thrive in transplant production where plants are often overhead watered, these diseases are not common on tomatoes grown to maturity in greenhouses or high tunnels. This is because, for the most part, tomatoes grown to maturity in a greenhouse or high tunnel do not have the necessary leaf wetness required for these diseases. Bacterial canker is occasionally observed in greenhouse/high tunnel situations since this disease may become established in transplants and becomes systemic in plants. Once bacterial canker is systemic in the plant, it ‘spreads’ within each plant even if it does not spread from plant to plant. Bacterial speck and spot – The symptoms produced by these two diseases are[Read More…]



Effectively managing foliar diseases including late blight (LB), early blight (EB), and Septoria leaf spot (SLS), is one of the biggest challenges facing organic tomato growers. New, resistant hybrid varieties are available, but organic growers often plant heirloom varieties instead because they are perceived to have superior flavor and growers can save seed. Copper fungicides can provide fair control of these diseases, but these products are contact, not systemic, and must be applied often, which can negatively impact soil and water quality. The tomato organic management and improvement project (TOMI), led by Lori Hoagland in the Horticulture Department at Purdue, brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers from across the U.S. to develop short, medium and long-term solutions to this challenge. In the short-term, the team aims to identify biofungicide and biostimulant combinations that can effectively control LB, EB and SLS. Greenhouse and field trials are underway testing various combinations[Read More…]


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There are several potential benefits of growing grafted tomatoes, particularly for early season tomato production in greenhouses or high tunnels. If you are interested in trying this technique but wondering whether it is possible to graft tomato plants by yourself, a Purdue extension publication, Techniques for Tomato Grafting, (https://extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/HO/HO-260-W.pdf ) provides a step-by-step guideline for small growers to explore this technique. A question I am often asked is: when should I start to plant the seeds to produce grafted plants? The chart below shows a general timeline and materials needed for producing grafted tomatoes on a small scale on your farm. As a general rule, the grafting process delays seedling growth for 6-7 days. The delay normally does not make a noticeable difference on the size of seedlings after the grafted plants are grown in a greenhouse for more than 2 weeks prior to transplant. As a matter of fact, grafted[Read More…]


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