4 months ago

Tomato (Moneymaker) - Leaf curling and browning

These are images from Planting 1 - Tomatoes (Moneymaker), transplanted on 16/09/2016, no dig, permaculture bed, square foot planting. The leaves are withered, browning, curling and generally does not look healthy. I have applied sulphur as leaf dusting to counter rust and have applied Epson salt as leave spray on 10/12/2016. Also sprayed Sprayed Effekto Virikop. We had high winds a few weeks ago but I'm not sure that this is as a result of that.

I'm in a high summer temperature area - summer averages between 30-45°C.

The other issue that I have is that the fruits are very small - there are lots of fruit, but remain small and only two prematurely ripened - fruit about 3cm in width.

I must note that other plants in the same bed - Starke Ayres Beans (Contender), Spinach, Pumpkin are growing very well and are very healthy.

I have now started pruning the sickly looking stems.

Any advice appreciated.

Wellington, South Africa
270 visits •

3 answers

C. Elena Bita 4 months ago

Hi Chris, leaf curling and browning is a normal aspect of plant aging and can be easily noticed in the oldest leaves of plants that are grown on the ground or not pruned regularly. This aspect of plant senescence can be easily taken for disease symptoms . Occasional pruning of these leaves, especially if the plants are grown on poles, is only beneficial as dead tissue ( the brown curled leaves) generally attracts all sorts of hungry beasts. Withered leaves , brown leaves and flowers, small discolored fruits with very little jelly and small seeds are a sign the plant has been stressed and slowed down very much its reproductive growth. Could you please post some pics of fruits cut in half ? If the plants are grown on the soil, very close together, and its hot outside, my guess is they will experience even a higher stress as there is heat coming from the soil as well and no ventilation in between the plants/leaves.
To try and save your plants I would also suggest shading, removal of dead tissue and adequate watering. Usually heat stress is most deleterious when the plant is young and flowering - so you should look back at the temperature charts 3 weeks ago; the fact that you have fruits already means the plants are mature and may not produce new flower buds- although MM is of the indeterminate growth type. However, without shading I dont think the fruits already present will keep growing, and even if they do they will not be properly developed , no juice, and little taste compared to their full potential.
If you live in a hot climate area I suggest a small trial next year with 5-6 different tomato cultivars previously known to be heat tolerant ( and also have tastier sweeter more flavorful fruits) in the field and also of determinate growth -especially if you grow them for your own use. Money Maker is a commercial cultivar mostly used for greenhouse culture but of course one can also grow them in field( backyard conditions that is) providing enough shading. Here some useful varieties, especially if it doesnt rain a lot in your area : http://www.tomatodirt.com/tomatoes-fo...
I would suggest hairloom tomatoes that also retain a certain tolerance to diseases instead of super producing hybrids that would need spraying etc. In my opinion the best site to order seeds from is this passionate grower in Germany, he has thousands of cultivars not only of tomato but also several other vegetables. Only trouble is one needs to know a bit of german..or dutch: http://tomaten.bplaced.net/tomatenhah...

David Hughes 4 months ago

Apparently Moneymaker tomatoes are sensitive to the heat according to this publication

The lead author, Elena Bita has provided more information directly.

Regina 4 months ago

I know when it gets hot here (100F, 37 C)all my tomatoes' leaves curl and the blossoms drop and they generally look bad. I've started planting my most flavorful tomatoes where they have afternoon shade, like behind the tall sunflowers or behind a screen. It has helped. They are less susceptible to all problems when they aren't drained from the heat.

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