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Tomato probs

Aaggh. Newbie here growing greenhouse Alicante tomato's. Whole branches of each of my plants are dying and the ripening friut is rotting. Obviously no good this year but any ideas on how I can prevent further happenings pls.



  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,731

    Any chance of a photo, Colin? It sounds like a fungal problem. If the spread from foliage to stems to fruit has been rapid, it could be Late Blight. If not rapid, it could be a number of things. There are even fungal problems specific to greenhouses that are rarely found with outdoor toms.

    Anyway, given that it's probably fungal, you can never guarantee against it ever happening. Fungal spores are airborne, they travel on the breeze, they're everywhere in the air, and invisible to the naked eye.

    One option is preventive spraying, which means spraying before the spores arrive. Once they have arrived - when the symptoms are starting to show - it's too late. It means spraying about once a week from not long after the toms are planted out.

    If you don't fancy spraying, you have to concentrate on a housekeeping routine that aims to minimise the fungal spores' chances of getting a grip.

    In a greenhouse, ensure as much air circulation as you possibly can. The closed environment can be an incubator for disease.

    Keep as much space between plants as you can for air circulation purposes.

    Try to avoid great clumps of dense foliage developing on plants by judicious pruning of excess foliage and branches. Again, for air circulation purposes.

    Keep a gap of at least a foot between the lowest foliage and the soil. Fungal spores can and will fall from the foliage to the soil and can be splashed back up again when watering causing re-infection. The gap will help against this.

    The bottom line is that you can't avoid fungal spores. All you can do is try to minimise their impact.

  • Really grateful for the trouble u have taken Italophile. All relevant and useful information. Really rapid spread os symptoms but, thanks again.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,731

    Colin, do the symptoms look like this?




     If so, it's Late Blight.

  • Exactly like that + mouldy fruit. Sorry, new camera and haven't worked out how to load pics onto laptop

  • I have found with my outdoor tomatoes that they have been much better for the last couple of years when i started using chimney pots filled with compost placed on top of the soil. So the roots can still get into the soil, but they are elevated awy from the soil.


  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,731
    Colin7 wrote (see)

    Exactly like that + mouldy fruit. Sorry, new camera and haven't worked out how to load pics onto laptop

    Mouldy fruit a bit like this?


    Late Blight is one of the ugliest, most virulent fungal diseases. It can demolish an entire tomato plant inside a week.

    Sparkle - I can't picture what you're describing. The plants are planted into the chimney pots but grow down into the soil underneath?

  • Think of the chimney pot as a large bottomless flower pot, filled with compost and placed on top of the soil, eventually the roots will grow through the compost into the soil beneath.

    my toms in the chimney pots are taller then I am now, really good strong plants. I have now cut off the tops and all the flowers and even picked off some of the tiny toms, desperatly hoping that the trusses left on will ripen. The yeild had been well down this year as it was so cold for so long

    I am still waiting for the blight to strick and feel it will be a when rather then if, (the allotment 1 mile away was devistated this year) but so far so good.

    The toms just in normal pots are not nearly s healthy and might have the first signs of blight.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,731

    Ah, now I get the picture.

    The chimney-pot plants have a big advantage over those in containers. By the time they get down into the soil they've developed very good root structure. Plants in containers will always have hindered root structure. But the blight difference is a matter of luck. All plants are susceptible, no matter how they're planted.

    Taking off the tops, flowers, small fruit, etc, doesn't hasten the ripening process. Ripening is purely down to temperature. Optimum ripening temperatures are anything above low-20sC. The lower you go, the longer it takes. And, as soon as the toms start to turn from their very darkest green, the plant pretty much shuts off moisture to the fruit anyway.

  • Hello, I have some tomato plants with the dreaded blight next to sweetcorn which also looks sick. Please could you let me know if it is transferable to the other plants in my garden and if any blight treatments are ok for them, I know it is likely that my potatoes will succumb but am worried about courgettes and the sweetcorn. Thanks very much.
  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Tomato and potato blights are transferable to each other as I understand it but not to other plants

    However that is not say other plants are not susceptible to other fungal diseases-it has been yet another poor and troublesome season

    Onwards and upwardsimage

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