The Bernalillo County Extension office has received many calls and samples inquiring about growing tomatoes, the issues and challenges surrounding their culture, and what to do with the harvested tomatoes. Tomatoes are popular to grow with every home gardener, but with that come many challenges to gardeners of every level of experience. Insects, diseases, water stress, heat stress, nutrients, soil, humans, pets, other pests, etc... will all affect plant growth. The chart below gives a brief description of the most common tomato issues, a picture, and the cause with a link to a page discussing the issue and its resolution. Please contact your local extension office to ask further questions or to have the causal issue properly identified.

Symptom Description Symptoms Visual Causal Issue
Purple leaves: purplish color along veins and general purple cast to plant. Cooler temperatures and no visible insects text description Phosphorus deficiency
Yellowing plant, stops growing, purplish color along the veins; leaves curling upwards text description Curly top virus
Yellow leaves, distorted plants, may have purple veins, zigzag stem and branch pattern. Check for small insects text description Psyllids
yellowing of leaves with small holes the size of pin holes or slightly larger. text description Flea beetles
Chewing injury with black frass or insect poop hornworm Tomato hornworm
Black or brown spots characterized by concentric circles. Alternaria Alternaria Early Blight
spots on the leaves with white or gray centers surrounded by brown or black rings text description Septoria Leaf Spot
brown or yellow leaves, burnt or brittle. no spots or sign of insects text description Leaf Scorch
sticky honeydew on plants with small white flies text description White fly
sticky honeydew on plants, leaves distorted, cluster of colored insect on stems text description Aphids
leaves curling and distorted, leaves thick or leathery to the touch text description Herbicide Damage
Cucumber Mosaic Virus text description Cucumber Mosaic Virus
plants wilted, no spots on leaves, streaking of inside vascular tissue text description Fusarium Wilt