Tomato is the most common vegetable grown in every vegetable garden. This culture can even be found on the balcony and windowsill of apartment buildings. However, it is unlikely that it will be possible to grow a tomato without proper care. Delicate and thermophilic plant is often affected by various diseases and pests. For example, you can observe how the leaves of tomato seedlings wither and curl, which is very alarming for novice vegetable growers. There are many reasons for this problem. Which of them should alert the gardener, and which should not be feared, we will now try to find out.
Why do tomato seedlings curl leaves
There are many reasons why the leaves of tomato seedlings can curl. To make it easier to find a solution to the problem, we decided to group all the reasons by the method of occurrence:
- features of the variety and the environment;
- non-compliance with the conditions for growing tomatoes;
- seedling disease and pest damage.
The first two problems are easier to solve. They can even be prevented by frequent monitoring of tomato seedlings. Moreover, it is advisable to pay attention to plants not only during the day, but also at least once at night. Agro-technological errors corrected in time will help restore tomato seedlings to their previous appearance.
The third problem is the most difficult. And, if you can still somehow fight against pests, then you may not have time to save tomato seedlings from many diseases. Most often, tomatoes are affected by bacterial diseases due to the fault of the gardener. This is due to a reluctance to take preventive measures. Agrotechnology for growing tomato seedlings provides for the disinfection of seeds, soil and planting containers. Some gardeners make this process easier. They assume that just pickling the tomato seeds is enough. Then they say that last year's seedlings grew good, and this year is unsuccessful due to some natural disasters. In this case, nature has nothing to do with it, it's just that the agricultural technology of growing tomatoes is not observed.
Features of the variety and the environment
Tomato leaves are very sensitive to environmental conditions. If you watch them, you can see how they react to drought, waterlogging, heat, cold, drafts. The shape of the leaves speaks of unpleasant environmental conditions for the tomato. If something is wrong, they begin to curl. Moreover, the sheet does not necessarily take the form of a tube. It can be in the form of a boat or, in general, bend only in certain areas. Interestingly, a tomato leaf is able to curl inward and outward like a leaf blade.
Tomato varieties characterized by twisted foliage
When growing tomato seedlings at home, it is advisable to study the characteristics of each variety even at the stage of acquiring seeds. In the future, this will help avoid panic when the grower sees tomatoes with twisted leaves. The fact is that this form of foliage may simply be a characteristic of a particular tomato variety. This is most often seen in indeterminate tomatoes. In many cultures, thin stems can be observed, covered with hanging narrow foliage, carved in shape. By their nature, these tomato leaves can curl slightly by themselves. This is not a seedling disease, and you should not rush to immediately treat tomatoes with different preparations.
Take, for example, several popular varieties: Fatima and Honey Drop. In these tomatoes, from the moment the seedlings are grown, a slight curl of the foliage can be observed. A prime example would be most varieties of cherry tomatoes. It is almost impossible to imagine this plant with perfectly flat foliage. During the planting of tomatoes, it is necessary to inspect the appearance of the seedlings. If one variety has thin foliage slightly curled, and neighboring tomatoes of another variety have smooth and even leaves, do not worry. These are just the characteristics of the variety. When the disease manifests itself, it affects all tomato seedlings growing nearby.
Effect of heat on tomato leaf shape
An observant person, probably, more than once saw how the foliage of many plants and even trees curled in hot dry weather. This is especially evident when a hot wind is blowing outside. Tomato is no exception. When the heat comes, its leaves immediately become like tubes. This is because the plant is trying to reduce moisture evaporation. A sheet twisted into a tube reduces its area and becomes thicker, which means that it will warm up less under the sun's rays. It is interesting to watch such tomatoes in the evening. As soon as the coolness sets in, the leaves straighten out, become even and smooth. They prepared to rehydrate by absorbing the morning dew. When the sun rises and the heat comes, the tomato leaves will take on the traditional tube shape.
However, it is necessary not only to observe such a phenomenon of nature, but also to help the tomatoes survive the heat. First of all, growing tomatoes need shading. It is best to do this with white agrofiber. Lightweight material will stick to any wire structure, but they only need to cover the tomatoes on top. Fresh air must flow from below along the ground, otherwise the plants will simply steam up.
Attention! In no case should you water tomatoes during the heat, even with warm water. It is disastrous as spraying the aerial part of the tomato, and watering at the root.
Water droplets on the leaves take on a lens effect that promotes burns. Under the hot sun, moisture evaporates from under the root, and settles in the same microdroplets of water on the leaves. The effect is the same.
During such weather, it is impossible to water the above-ground part with sprinkling in the morning and evening hours. After several such refreshing sprays, the defeat of late blight tomatoes is ensured. When hot days are established outside, it is necessary to fluff the soil under the tomato seedlings more often. You can even mow forest grass, and cover the ground around the stems of tomatoes. The herbal pillow will reduce the evaporation of moisture from the soil, plus it will not allow the tomato root system to overheat.
Influence of lack of moisture on the leaf shape
Lack of moisture is a natural cause of tomato leaves curling. Some summer residents rarely appear on their plots, someone hopes for rain, but it is a shame when a person diligently waters, but the plant still has little water. The reason lies in the very wrong watering. Sometimes the vegetable grower is afraid of soil siltation, and water the tomatoes often, but in small portions of water. You can understand the incorrectness of such watering by examining the structure of the tomato root system. A small portion of water is capable of penetrating deep into the soil up to 5 cm, where there may be a small amount of the upper roots of the plant, or maybe they may not be there at all. The main root of a tomato is located deeper and moisture simply does not reach it.
Adult plants on mulched beds are watered every five days, and on uncovered ones - after two days. Moreover, if an ovary has already appeared on the bush, the tomato needs at least a bucket of water.
Advice! If you pour a bucket of water under a tomato bush at once, a larger amount of it will simply spread to the sides, and little will get to the plant. Optimally, watering is divided into a couple of parts, and as the water is absorbed around the stem, add a new portion.
Influence of moisture supersaturation on the leaf shape
Moisture oversaturation can be determined by the tomato leaves twisted upwards. If the problem arose from frequent watering, it is easy to solve. But what to do in a rainy summer? After all, a person is unable to regulate precipitation. Even from the moment of planting tomato seedlings, you need to take care of the preparation of loose soil in the garden. Dense soils do not absorb water well, and with frequent rains, it will stagnate under the plants. The roots of tomatoes will not be able to receive the required amount of oxygen, they will begin to rot and all the plantings will eventually disappear. If, nevertheless, the soil has not been prepared correctly, it is necessary at least to make branch grooves from the bushes. On them, rainwater will go to the side.
Failure to comply with the conditions for growing tomatoes
Agrotechnology of tomato provides for the introduction of various fertilizers that stimulate growth, flowering and the formation of an ovary. This also includes pinching tomatoes. Basically, this process is necessary for indeterminate and semi-determinate tomatoes. Violation of one of these processes affects the curl of the leaves of seedlings and adult plants.
Tomato seedlings begin to feed from the first days of her life and, ending with adult plants, on which the ovary has already appeared. But everything is good in moderation. Each top dressing of a tomato is based on the introduction of a certain type of fertilizer. For example, from an excess of nitrogen, tomato leaves curl up into a ring. The leaves become fleshy, fragile, and burst immediately with a light touch. And it's not just saltpeter or urea. A lot of nitrogen is contained in poultry droppings, manure and, even in some decoctions of herbs, which is what caring housewives often like to add to tomatoes.
Excess nitrogen prevents phosphorus from entering the tomato, but at the same time, potassium may not be enough. Then the phosphorus will not enter the aerial part of the tomato. You can even out the balance and save seedlings from excess nitrogen by applying phosphorus and potassium fertilizers. If the soil contains a sufficient amount of phosphorus, you can only do with potassium fertilizing.
Advice! To avoid an imbalance of nutrients, it is better to fertilize tomatoes with complex fertilizers. They contain the necessary proportions of all the fertilizers a tomato needs.
Even an inexperienced grower can be sure not to harm their tomato seedlings. However, even complex fertilizers must be applied according to the instructions on the package.
Lack of nutrients
Properly prepared soil should contain the required amount of nutrients, which is enough to grow tomato seedlings without feeding. Although many vegetable growers still feed the plants several times before and after the pick. Most often, there is a lack of phosphorus in seedlings, especially before planting them in the ground. This can be determined by folded leaves with a purple hue.
If the leaf rolls up from the lateral edges to the longitudinal vein, then the seedlings are deficient in potassium. From a distance, such a plant resembles a curly bush. The problem can be solved by adding wood ash, superphosphate or potassium nitrate to the soil.
Tomato is such a sensitive culture that it even reacts to a lack of microelements. The leaves immediately change their color, the edges are slightly bent and may curl over time.
Boron imbalance is manifested by curling of tomato leaves on the middle tier of the bush. Initially, the veins of the leaves turn red, after which the entire bush turns yellow or becomes pale.
Young leaves of tomato seedlings react strongly to the lack of copper. Initially, their edges begin to curl slightly towards the longitudinal vein. If, at this stage, fertilizing with a copper-containing substance is not done, the foliage acquires an autumn yellowness, gradually becomes dry and crumbles.
Advice! Feeding with a shortage of copper is best done with a complex preparation, which contains, in addition to the missing seedlings, sulfur.
Both components are in good contact with each other, which increases their effectiveness.
Excess zinc immediately affects old tomato leaves. Their back side turns purple, and the side edges are folded into a semicircle. Zinc deficiency is determined by young tomato leaves. They become brittle, and the lateral edges are bent with a tube towards the back of the sheet.
Lack of calcium can be identified by the pale leaves of tomatoes. In addition, their edges will start to curl up a little.
It should be noted that according to such signs, it is difficult to determine even for experienced vegetable growers which microelement is not enough for tomato seedlings. If this has happened, it is better to feed with complex micronutrient fertilizers.
Incorrect removal of stepsons
Passionate brings some stress to the tomato. There are rules according to which it is required to remove stepchildren when they reach a maximum length of 7 cm.If this is done later or all the vegetative parts are pinned at once, the stress response will be the curling of tomato leaves into a funnel. You must act immediately, otherwise all the inflorescences will crumble. Here, the plants will be saved only by top dressing by spraying the aboveground part. The harvest, of course, will be smaller, but better than nothing.
Seedling disease and pest damage
Infectious diseases and pests cause the most irreparable damage to tomato seedlings. Sometimes it is possible to save the plants, although it will already be possible to forget about a good harvest.
Manifestation of bacteriosis
Most often, the vegetable grower himself is to blame for this tomato disease. Bacteriosis multiplies due to reluctance to pickle tomato seeds before planting. The disease manifests itself on the leaves of young seedlings. They begin to curl outward and become small. On fruiting tomatoes, bacteriosis changes the color of the flower from yellow to white. Affected tomato bushes slow down growth. At the top of the plant, the leaves become faded and curled. Such a tomato cannot be cured. The bush must be removed, and all other plants are treated with drugs for pests, since the bacteriosis is spread by scoops, aphids and whiteflies.
Manifestation of fusarium wilting
This disease is considered fungal. It develops in poor soil, therefore it spreads through the plant from the bottom up. The defeat of the tomato bush begins with the leaves of the lower tier. A noticed such tomato is immediately removed, and the soil where it grew is treated with a thick solution of potassium permanganate. All nearby growing tomatoes are sprayed with biofungicide or any other similar preparation.
Damage to tomato by garden pests
Aphids, red spider mites and whiteflies cause irreparable damage to crops. These pests are not very fond of tomatoes, but sometimes their settlements are found on the back of the leaves. The vital activity of pests is based on the suction of sap from the plant, as a result of which the exhausted tomato leaf curls inward and turns brownish-yellow. To combat pests, decoctions of onion peels, celandine are used, sometimes an infusion of wood ash helps. There are many commercially available drugs available, but they must be used with caution. Tomatoes tend to accumulate harmful substances.
The defeat of the thin-leaved virus
Usually, the manifestation of the virus is observed in dry summers and under strong lighting inside the greenhouse. Tomatoes do not die, but the leaves become curled into a thin tube. The fruits are tied small, wrinkled. You can save tomatoes by spraying the foliage with a solution of potassium permanganate with urea. If the results are unsuccessful, it is better to remove the affected tomato bushes.
Video on why tomato leaves are twisted:
It is rather difficult to determine the real reason for the curling of a tomato leaf. If the measures taken to save the plant did not give positive results, such a tomato must be removed from the garden, otherwise you may be left without a crop altogether.