Growing tomatoes in your garden area are certainly one of the most gratifying home projects you can do, especially if you are able to harvest fresh, juicy tomatoes for family and friends. Tomato plants are considered to be very easy to maintain. Regardless of the season or the weather, there’s nothing like enjoying a sunny afternoon in the garden harvesting nutritious vegetables.
The stems of the plants can grow as high as 4 feet, and they also have a distinct canopy. When you grow tomatoes from seeds, planting them from seed is a very tedious task. However, there is nothing more rewarding than harvesting a large basket of red, luscious tomatoes on a hot summer’s day. But many times, you come across a disappointing situation where your tomato plant is suffering from something called white spots on tomato leaves.
White spots on tomato leaves can be caused by a number of fungal diseases, pests, and nutritional deficiencies.
Why do the leaves of some tomato plants have white spots, and others do not?
If you are a gardener, you must have had the opportunity to notice white spots on the leaves of tomatoes. These are not just some minor defects on plants that you can allow to affect your plants. Rather, they are indications that some serious problems are growing deep within your backyard.
Here are some of the conditions that can lead to white spots on tomato leaves:
In nature, white spots are a signal that the plant is under attack. Sometimes the plant is attacked by fungus or bacteria, and the immune system can’t keep up with the invaders. Then the leaf dies, and the white spots are where that leaf gave up.
The spots are caused by a virus, Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), which is transmitted by the thrips (tiny insects) that attack the leaves. When the thrips are feeding on the leaves, the virus is in their saliva. The thrips leave the virus on the leaf as they drink, and the virus then infects the next leaf they bite.
The virus can infect the leaves of healthy plants, but when the plant starts to grow new leaves, the virus attaches to the leaf and is carried to the next leaf. After the virus attaches to a number of leaves, the new leaves have white spots. The leaves with the spots are stunted and pale, and the plants with infected leaves may not grow as well. Plants have a natural resistance to some viruses, and plants with resistant plants will produce more fruit.
Viruses are fascinating. They are tiny things, much smaller than bacteria, and yet they can wreak havoc on a plant, causing leaves to turn white.
Powdery mildew is not usually a problem at planting time, but if it does appear, it is spread by wind. When powdery mildew grows on leaves, it can interfere with the plant’s photosynthesis. Leaves with powdery mildew are yellow, shriveled, and appear wrinkled.
Powdery mildew does not damage the tomato plant directly but can cause stunted growth, and the plant may not produce as many tomatoes. Powdery mildew can affect all varieties of tomatoes, although tomatoes with thicker skin are more vulnerable to the disease. It can also affect the taste of the tomatoes.
Other Causes of a white spot on tomatoes leaves:
Fortunately, there are several causes for white spots on tomato leaves, so identifying the culprit is relatively straightforward.
Several types of diseases can cause white spots on tomato leaves, including viruses and bacteria. The spots appear as yellow or white streaks, and the leaves may turn brown. These spots can spread rapidly, so remove infected plants promptly, or the problem will spread to nearby plants.
- Nutrient Deficiency
A lack of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, or nitrogen could be the main problem. Symptoms include poor leaf growth, stunted growth, poor fruit production, and—if left unchecked—death. If a white spot is on fruit or flower, the plant may die.
- Insect Damage
Aphids, thrips, and leaf miners can also have a negative impact on tomato leaves. The spots on leaves appear as a result of feeding, and the leaves may turn brown.
- Environmental Factors
Too much or too little water, and too much or too little sunlight, can both cause white
How To Treat White Spots on Tomato Leaves?
There are ways to protect plants from TSWV and other viruses. The virus that causes tobacco mosaic disease is spread by the thrips, and planting tobacco in a nearby field can push thrips into neighboring fields. To protect yourself, you should grow only disease-resistant tomatoes and have your tomatoes grown in a greenhouse.
- Remove the infected leaves
- Spray the lower and upper surfaces of the tomato plant with a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda and two teaspoons of salt per one cup of water.
- Mix with warm water and spray the plant every ten days or as needed.
- You can also spray with neem oil as often as needed to prevent white spots from reoccurring.
- Apply treatments only after the average daytime temperature is above 50 degrees
- Powdery mildew can be treated with a fungicide.
- Control the environment
- Keep leaves moist
Tips to Avoid White Spots on Tomato Leaves:
- Tomato plants are sensitive to drought, which is why it is important to water regularly. Tomato plants are also sensitive to lack of nutrients, so it is important to fertilize regularly.
- If you water regularly, fertilize regularly, and prune regularly, you can help your tomato plant avoid white spots on tomato leaves.
- First, don’t plant tomatoes in soil that is too wet or too dry. Wet soil means there are more nutrients in the soil, and the tomato plant needs nutrients to grow. But too much water can encourage the bacteria that cause blossom blight.
- Dry soil is also bad for tomatoes. Tomatoes don’t like it when they get too hot. The hotter it gets, the more they stop growing.
- Third, try to keep your tomatoes evenly watered. Tomato plants don’t like having their roots dry out. They also don’t like having their roots get really wet.