Why It Occurs and Learn how to Deal with It

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Tomato leaf curl is a irritating however fixable downside for any gardener, irrespective of your expertise. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of leaf curl in tomato vegetation is brought on by physiological adjustments, transplant shock, or poor drainage, and might be mounted by amending the way you water, and the placement of your vegetation.

Some tomato leaf curl signs might be brought on by herbicides, viruses, and bacterial issues however, most often, your vegetation will get well with some thought-about pruning. To get you heading in the right direction this 12 months, we’ve created this symptom-by-symptom information to stop, handle, and deal with, tomato leaf curl.

What’s tomato leaf curl?

Tomato leaf curl is a type of gardening issues that doesn’t want a lot explaining. It’s the frequent identify given to a spread of viruses, physiological malformations, and pure plant responses to situations, all of which trigger (you guessed it) curled leaves.

There are a minimum of twenty totally different viruses that may trigger tomato leaf curl, however most circumstances are brought on by overwatering, under-watering, transplant shock, nutrient deficiencies, and herbicide drift. Regardless of the lengthy checklist, it’s truly fairly easy to repair, so long as you realize what prompted your tomato leaves to curve within the first place.

What’s tomato physiological leaf roll?

Physiological leaf roll, or physiological leaf curl, is totally different to viral leaf curl. Somewhat than a virus, fungal an infection, or bacterial downside, physiological leaf roll is brought on by a plethora of environmental situations. 

If there isn’t a signal of dampness within the soil, mould on the stem, or lesions on the foliage, your tomato vegetation will get well, so long as you deal with them effectively.

Can tomatoes get well from leaf curl?

Tomatoes can simply get well from leaf curl in almost all circumstances, however like several sickness, in any species, velocity is all the pieces. Observe our broken-down information to the indicators and signs of tomato leaf curl, and comply with the easy steps to deal with it.

Why are my tomato leaves curling and the right way to repair it


There’s a lengthy checklist of poor situations that trigger tomato leaf curl, and every is mounted by altering the ingredient that’s prompted it:

  • Overwatering can result in root rot, and early indicators are downward curling leaves that look under-watered and have a light-weight yellow tint, accompanied by damp soil. To assist your plant get well, merely cease watering for a number of days, or as much as two weeks, till the soil dries out. 
  • Below-watering tomato vegetation causes a similar-looking leaf curl to overwatering, however with out the yellowing foliage. The clearest signal of under-watering is that if the soil is cracking or drying beneath the floor. In pots, soil will likely be coming away from the sting. Soak the foundation ball in a tray of water till the soil has revived, and your vegetation ought to look pretty much as good as new in a number of hours.
  • Warmth, notably when accompanied by moist leaves, could cause foliage to shrivel and cup inwards. That is actually sunburn, or solar scorch, taking place earlier than your eyes. The moist spots on leaves intensify the warmth, and like several skinny natural materials, when it burns, it contracts. The leaves gained’t get well, however the remainder of the plant will likely be effective. Simply don’t water the leaves.
  • Wind has an identical impact to warmth, particularly in coastal areas, the place salty air dehydrates the air. These dry winds trigger a cupped, usually leathery leaf. That is the plant’s response to its situations, so should you can, transfer it someplace extra sheltered.
  • Root restriction will trigger your whole plant to wilt, usually with downward curled leaves. The soil could also be completely moist and drained, but when your tomato seedling hasn’t been moved into an even bigger pot but, it would wrestle to develop with out new vitamins and more room.
  • Overfeeding inflicting tomato leaf curl is extra frequent on the seedling stage. Indicators embrace curled leaves decrease down the stem, whereas the highest leaves stay effective. In case you have a soil testing equipment, use it, if not, keep away from feeding seedlings.
  • Underfeeding-triggered leaf curl is extra frequent with mature vegetation, however the signs are just about equivalent to overfeeding. Decrease leaves will curl, and develop into leathery, whereas increased leaves seem effective. Apply a light-weight, balanced fertilizer twice every week till the plant appears to be like happier.
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Transplant shock

Tomatoes are tropical vegetation, so rising them wherever aside from the tropics almost all the time requires seedlings to be grown indoors, or below cowl to start with. When it’s time to plant these seedlings into the bottom, doing it too early, or too late can shock them.

Transplant shock is the results of sudden temperature adjustments, normally from a gradual indoor temperature to a chilly spring day, or heat early summer season afternoon. To keep away from transplant shock, harden off your tomatoes for a number of hours every day, as quickly because the soil temperature reaches 12ºC.

Extreme pruning

Extreme pruning gained’t, in itself, trigger tomato leaf curl. What it may do although, is expose the remaining leaves to extra direct solar. The sudden change will end in an identical leaf curl to that of sun-scorch. Attempt to guard your tomatoes in opposition to direct daylight till they get well.


Ailments are a standard reason for tomato leaf curl however are much less frequent than physiological leaf roll. For a full information to treating frequent tomato illnesses, whether or not they’re viral, bacterial, or fungal, examine the detailed checklist in a while on this article.


One of many much less seemingly situations to trigger leaf curl is pests. Apart from a number of very intelligent caterpillars and moths, the one frequent pest that can trigger leaf curl is spider mites, however that will take an enormous infestation. In case you see leaves curled on account of extreme silk, simply wash them clear to take away them, and the plant will get well.

If, nevertheless, you unwrap a curled leaf to discover a moth cocoon, or a caterpillar, simply take away the leaf and transfer it someplace else. Moths are important to the backyard, but when a caterpillar hatches contained in the curled leaf, it would devour the encompassing leaves too!

Herbicide drift

As a consequence of their skinny leaves, tomatoes are simply broken by most herbicides. Whereas chemical herbicide drift does essentially the most harm, even natural herbicides could cause severe points. In case you discover bent stems which have misplaced each vigor and shade, with inward cupping leaves, it’s more than likely brought on by herbicides or chemical compounds.

Even should you’ve indirectly handled your tomatoes or the realm with herbicides, they’ll drift for miles on the wind, with farming and industrial herbicides like 2,4-D and dicamba being the worst.

Even frequent backyard weed killers that embrace glyphosate can utterly kill tomato vegetation, and shop-bought compost can typically by accident comprise traces of pasture herbicides like aminopyralid, picloram, and clopyralid.

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Ailments that trigger tomato leaf curl, and the right way to deal with them

In case you’ve tried all the pieces else, and also you’re nonetheless having issues with tomato leaf curl, it can be brought on by some frequent fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. The indicators of those infections are sometimes a lot clearer than physiological leaf roll.

Distinguishing between every viral leaf curl, and every fungal leaf curl might be difficult however, fortunately, most are handled in an identical approach. Observe the guides beneath to deal with every totally different kind of tomato leaf curl illness.

Fungal issues that trigger tomato leaf curl

Fungal an infection is a standard reason for tomato leaf curl, and the brown, yellow, or moldy lesions throughout the foliage are the primary signal. The 2 most typical fungal leaf curls on tomatoes are late blight and septoria wilt.

  • Septoria Wilt causes very slight curling across the very fringe of a leaf, accompanied by yellow patches (usually half a leaf) and brown lesions with white facilities. 
  • Late blight begins with sooty, or moldy spots on tomato leaves normally towards the sting. Because it develops the whole leaf will fold in on itself and being to droop. Finally, the entire truss will curl up, or drop from the plant, infecting different components of the plant because it passes.

To forestall these frequent fungal causes of leaf curl on tomatoes, merely take away them as quickly as you see them, and burn the contaminated materials. The forestall reinfection, use an natural fungicide like neem oil for indoor crops, and cut back humidity and watering for out of doors crops the place doable.

Viruses that trigger tomato leaf curl

Tomato leaf curl is a standard symptom of many viruses, however the three to look out for are tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), tomato mosaic virus, and curly prime virus.

  • Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is normally carried from plant to plant by whiteflies and aphids. Signs embrace marginal leaf yellows, cupped leaves (each up and down), dropped fruits or un-dropped flowers, and deformed or stunted development of fruits and foliage.
  • Tomato Mosaic Virus actually causes a mosaic sample throughout the leaves it impacts. If caught rapidly, you may simply take away the contaminated supplies. If left with out therapy, mosaic virus will unfold and stunt the plant’s development, and damage fruits (turning the within brown).
  • Curly High Virus might be essentially the most irritating viral illness for any tomato grower, not as a result of it ruins fruit, however as a result of it’s so exhausting to diagnose. The indicators are primarily the identical as solar scorch, with dry, curly prime development, affecting the brand new development solely. Finally the virus will unfold to different vegetation, and down the plant. Eradicating any affected plant is essential to subsequent 12 months’s success, however should you don’t plan on rising tomatoes once more subsequent 12 months, they’ll proceed to crop, however yield much less.

For any viral downside inflicting tomato leaf curl, the very best plan of action is to take away the whole plant and burn it. Viruses unfold via each cell within the vegetation they infect, and may solely be eradicated by full elimination. Fortunately, tomato viruses are fairly uncommon and are typically imported on shop-bought seedlings, or through the use of contaminated compost. 

Bacterial infections that trigger tomato leaf curl

There are two frequent bacterial issues which might be clearly identifiable from the way in which tomato leaves curl. They’re; bacterial canker and southern bacterial wilt.

  • Bacterial canker causes the brand new leaves to develop slowly, and with brown edges. The decrease leaves will curl up, just like over or underfeeding. The clearest signal of superior bacterial canker is brown streaks up the stem of the plant, main up from decrease leaves.
  • Southern bacterial wilt appears to be like fairly equivalent to late blight. When superior, each single leaf can flip brown, and curl downwards earlier than dropping off and rotting. Southern blight begins from the bottom up so decrease leaves will flip first. Forestall it by eradicating decrease leaves earlier than it kinds, and sustaining a naked stem for the bottom 6” for the whole rising season.
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Deal with bacterial leaf curl in tomatoes in the identical approach as viruses. In case you catch it early, you may usually restrict the unfold by eradicating contaminated development. If it’s too late, take away the whole plant and burn it to stop the unfold to the remainder of your crop.


Tomato leaf curl might sound difficult, however it’s actually fairly easy: examine if it’s a viral, bacterial, or fungal trigger, and if not, amend your care routine. In case your tomato’s curling leaves are brought on by illness or an infection, deal with them rapidly earlier than it spreads.

In case you simply comply with that primary order, it’s fairly protected to imagine your curling tomato leaves are an indication of one thing so simple as scorching climate, or moist summers. Keep watch over them, do what you may to handle their situations, and very quickly in any respect, tomato leaf curl will likely be a factor of the previous in your backyard.

Try these must-have gardening merchandise

You don’t want a lot to start out gardening, however some instruments and merchandise will make a distinction in how comfy and efficient gardening might be for you. Listed below are my favorites:

  • Backyard Trowel. A great backyard trowel will final you a few years. I really like how sturdy this hand trowel from WOLF-Garten is, the steel doesn’t bend and it has a pleasant grip.
  • Trimming Scissors. I exploit them for delicate pruning and harvesting all summer season lengthy, and so they’re tremendous useful. These Teflon Trimming Scissors are additional good as a result of they don’t rust as simply.
  • Dutch Hoe. Dutch hoes could appear old style, however there’s nothing like a fast sweep via the topsoil to do away with small weeds – no bending required. I really like WOLF-Garten’s choice: this dutch hoe coupled with their common deal with.
  • Develop Lights. These develop lights from Mars Hydro are tremendous sturdy, but dimmable, so that they match each stage of development. They don’t put out an excessive amount of warmth and are very economical.
  • Seedling Trays. There’s an artwork to selecting the very best measurement for seedling trays in order that it holds the right quantity of water and provides the roots sufficient room to develop. These germination plugs are good when coupled with 1020 backside trays. 
  • Liquid Fertilizer. You’ll have to feed your vegetation from the seedling stage, all the way in which to fruiting. This natural fish & seaweed mix is a really versatile choice. Use it half-strength for younger vegetation and full-strength for established vegetation.

Browse our checklist of instruments, fertilizers & pesticides, indoor rising merchandise and seed store suggestions – we hope you discover our choice helpful and it saves you a while!