What are the Most Common Types of Tomato Problems?

M.R. Anglin

Growing tomatoes can be a rewarding endeavor. Watching the plants spring up, flower, and bear ripe, red fruit can make a person feel accomplished, and eating the fruits of your labor tastes sweet. Tomatoes, however, can be susceptible to several different tomato problems. Some common tomato problems include trouble with pests, diseases, incorrect watering, and environmental issues. Any particular tomato trouble may depend on location and climate.

Pests and diseases can both damage tomato plants.
Pests and diseases can both damage tomato plants.

As with many agricultural endeavors, pests will affect the health and wellness of a tomato plant. Some pests, like the fruitworm, eat the leaves of the plant. In the adult stage, the fruitworm can also eat the fruit, leaving excrement both inside and outside of the tomato. Snails and slugs can also eat the fruits. The cutworm cuts down and munches on the plant during the night.

Contact with tobacco may cause a tomato plant to wilt.
Contact with tobacco may cause a tomato plant to wilt.

Various viruses and bacteria can also cause different tomato problems. One example is bacterial speck. This disease is characterized by raised spots on the fruit the leaves. An example of a disease caused by a virus is the tobacco mosaic virus. It is transmitted through contact with tobacco or tobacco products and causes the wilting and mottling of tomato leaves.

There are also tomato problems caused by fungi. Two examples of the different fungal infections a tomato plant may be susceptible to are early blight and late blight. Various types of fungi can affect the roots, leaves, and fruit and can even result in the death of the plant. It is often advised that tomato plants and plants in the tomato family, such as peppers and potatoes, are not placed in the same area every year. Rather, practicing crop rotation can help keep fungi at bay.

Tomato plants are also sensitive to incorrect watering practices. Too much water can result in a tomato problem known as blossom end rot. This is when the blossom end of the tomato starts to turn brown and leathery. Too much water and too little calcium in the plant can cause this condition. To solve the problem, correct watering practices and making sure the proper nutrients are in the soil is a must.

Lastly, the environment the tomatoes are grown in can cause different tomato problems. Hot, humid climates can contribute to the growth of different fungi, and frost can kill off tomato plants. In addition, too much sun can cause sunscald. This problem is characterized by the side of the fruit that is exposed to the sun turning lighter in color, drying out, and becoming leathery. Sunscald can be avoided by making sure the tomato plant has enough leaves or other cover to shade the fruit while it is ripening.

Pests, disease, and incorrect watering can all be significant problems for tomato plants.
Pests, disease, and incorrect watering can all be significant problems for tomato plants.

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Discussion Comments


For the blossom bloom / sunscald, will adding eggshells be enough or do I have to add calcium to the soil as well to make sure the tomato plant is healthy?

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