13 Common Tomato Problems & How To Handle Them

by Sasha Ridley

    As tomatoes are among vegetables that can be grown anywhere around your homestead, you should learn about their growing habits, maintenance, and common problems. This will help your tomato plants grow healthily and produce more. And you, gardeners, can solve problems that your tomatoes often get at the right time, then harvest more with your crop. Tomatoes thrive both indoors and out, directly in the garden soil or in containers.

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    In this post, I’m glad to share 13 common tomato problems and how to handle them. If you’re growing tomatoes at home, you should never skip these. Identify the problem soon and fix it right away. This will help you solve any further problems that your plants may face. Gardening sometimes requires much patience and time. But it’s worth paying for. Nothing is better than homegrown products. They taste much better than those bought at stores. Why? They’re some sort of achievements that you’ve made.

    1. Fruit with black sunken areas on the blossom end

    If you see ugly black sunken spots on the blossom end of tomatoes, they’ve got blossom end rot. It looks like a disease but is actually caused by a lack of calcium.

    In addition, blossom-end rot becomes more severe because of dry conditions, uneven watering, excess nitrogen or root damage.

    To handle this problem, make sure that you give your tomatoes enough calcium. How? You may try place crushed eggshells in the planting hole and also around the base of the plant. And, don’t forget to water tomatoes deeply one to twice a week rather than lightly more often. This makes its root grow healthily.

    2. Few flowers or flowers dropping

    Your tomato plants only bear a few flowers or the flowers begin to drop off before setting fruit? This could show some facts that your plants are facing, including stress from drought, too much nitrogen, too little sun, night temperatures above 70 degrees F or below 50 degrees F, or day temperatures above 85 degrees F.

    To fix this, you should keep your plants strong by regular feeding and planting to draw pollinators – good options are milkweed and cosmos.

    3. Fruit cracking

    Fruit cracking is a popular problem when growing tomatoes. These cracks create an opportunity for insects and birds to start munching on the fruit.

    These cracks are generally caused by hot and rainy weather. If the weather has been particularly arid with little rain and tomatoes are thirsty, they soak up the water from the rain quickly which causes the fruit to swell and crack.

    To handle this condition, you should provide your tomato plants with plenty of moisture during the growing season. This will keep them from becoming overly thirsty when there is a heavy downpour.

    4. Sunscald

    If you have just started your tomato garden, you should know this. Tomato plants and fruit may look and seem perfectly healthy but develop symptoms of sunscald as they mature. This presents as yellow patches on fruit then turning white and extremely thin. The sunscald creates a poor appearance and also impacts the taste.

    As the name may suggest, it’s scalded by the sun. To fix it, use a sturdy wire cage around the plant that allows for stable branch support and natural shade for developing tomatoes.

    5. Deformed fruit

    If your tomatoes appear deformed and the blossom end is rippled and lumpy, it could be the result of the pollination happening when temperatures were cool – around 50 -55 degrees F.

    To avoid this deformation, you should plant tomatoes a little later, once the weather is truly warm. And, you can also use black plastic on the soil to help plants stay warm at night.

    6. Poor fruit set

    If your tomatoes are given too much nitrogen, it will develop into big green busy adults BUT may have few flowers and small, tasteless fruits.

    As it doesn’t get enough space between each, it does not allow for proper pollination which can also cause poor fruit set.

    To avoid this, be sure to leave at least two feet or more between plants for air circulation and pollination. To help with pollination, shake the flowering branches

    7. Leaf rolling / leaf curl

    Curled leaves at the bottom a tomato plant are the result of high temperatures or wet soil which causes stress. It may make your tomato plants look ugly but thankfully, won’t impact tomato development.

    To fix this condition, make sure not to over-prune and plant in well-draining soil or containers with plenty of drainage.

    8. Brown spots on leaves

    Early Blight presents as spots on older leaves that begin to form rings like a target, then turn yellow around the brown spot and the entire leaf turns brown and falls off. It could be that your tomato plants had a problem with the condition the year before and you plant them in the same spot the following year, they are highly susceptible to the condition again.

    The best way to prevent this is to rotate crops so that new plants do not get the disease.

    9. Wilting plants

    If your tomatoes are impacted by Fusarium Wilt, it may look fine one day and suddenly begin to wilt the next day. This is caused by a fungus that attacks the vascular system of the plant (like human veins).

    To fix this condition, you should take a preventative approach. Rotate crops and purchase wilt resistant varieties of tomatoes. Like the Early Blight, this fungus also lives in soil over the winter. So be sure that don’t plant tomatoes in the same spot each year.

    10. Powdery mildew

    If you see tomato leaves brushed with a fine white powder, it could be powdery mildew. You may even find white spots on the stem. As the fungi progress, it eventually turns leaves yellow and brown. It’s caused by poor air circulation, making this condition common in greenhouses.

    To handle powdery mildew, you can use natural gardening tools, including milk, garlic, garlic, apple cider vinegar, or baking soda.

    11. Bulls-eye circle on the blossom end

    A mushy, bulls-eye circle found on the tomato may be a sign of a nasty fungus known as anthracnose. It takes hold in hot and moist weather and is spread when water spaces on the ground pushing the fungus upward.

    To fix this condition, you should switch to a drip irrigation system that waters the roots instead of the foliage of the plant.

    And, don’t forget to harvest your tomatoes when they are ripe. If you let tomatoes hang on the vine too long, it will be a great invitation to the fungus.

    12. Puffiness

    The tomatoes you harvest from your garden may look great and ripen but you may find something strange when you slice into the fruit. Large open spaces with very little fruit.

    You can also find fruits that are lighter than usual upon harvesting and also had an angular or square shape. This condition is the result of the lack of nutrients, poor soil or inadequate pollination.

    To handle this, you should feed your plants during the growing season. Give them a frequent top dressing of homemade compost or compost tea is necessary for healthy fruit.

    13. Holes in fruit

    You may find small holes on tomatoes that collapse when you pick them up. This could be from tomato fruit worms. Unluckily, the only thing you can do is destroy the fruit that is infected.

    To repel fruit worms from your tomato fruits, try starting your planting under row covers, keeping them covered until they flower.

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