Posted on 20 August 2009 by

Reader Question: Tomato Plants Dying

blight1By Vanessa Richins

Nicole writes:

” I NEED HELP!! I went out to my garden this morning everything was fine. Came home from work and my tomato plants took a turn for the worst. Almost every leaf on the plant turned yellow/brown with dark black spots. I had to cut them all off according to the internet. Some of the tomatoes had dark brown spots on them. There was also some mushrooms growing beneath the plant.

Connecticut has been having alot of rain and humidity this week. Also there is a tomato fungus in six of our counties. Does anyone know what type of fungus this is and what I can do to treat my plants? I had 9 plants that were producing beatiful tomatoes…I was so excited. I don’t think they are going to survive. : (  “

Hi Nicole. I am so sorry to hear that all of your tomatoes are having problems.

First, the fungus you are referring to is late blight (Phytophthora infestans). It’s really hit hard in the Northeast this year. Part of the problem is the weather conditions you described – rainy and humid, which naturally encourages fungi to attack. Infected plants were also sent to a lot of chain garden centers in your area too, so that helped it spread.

It’s quite possible that this is your problem. If that’s the case, you need to unfortunately remove all the plants and destroy them to help contain the disease. You also shouldn’t plant tomatoes (or potatoes, for that matter), in that location next year.

Other possible diseases could be early blight (Alternaria) or tomato spotted wilt. If you have a picture to send us, we could determine what’s the problem, or you could also take it in to your local Extension office.

I hope you have better luck next year in a new spot.

No Responses to “Reader Question: Tomato Plants Dying”

  1. Mike Says:

    I am having the opposite problem. I’ve gardened for years and plant tomatoes. This year a tomato plant popped up between my air conditioning units and another one in the bushes about 40 feet from the garden. The tomatoes look exactly like the currant (small fruits grouped together). Is it OK to eat these and what caused these to grow by themselves? Thank you.

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