Even if you do everything in your garden “right”, problems are bound to pop up! Thus it is with my tomatoes this year. I planted them a good distance apart from each other. I staked or caged them early in the season. I trimmed off their lower leaves so nothing touched the ground. I carefully placed mulch around them. I watered them only at ground level and did my best to avoid splash-ups.
Nonetheless, yesterday I found that most of my plants had a few stems each of spotty, yellowing leaves!Remembering my horrible late blight experience two years ago, I panicked! Then I trimmed some leaves and brought them inside to the computer, where I Googled the websites of several states’ Cooperative Extensions. My best educated guess is that these leaves are infected with the fungus that causes Septoria Leaf Spot. The spots are relatively small, most only about an eight of an inch wide. They feature a tan center inside a darker gray-brown spot. Some of the leaves had begun to turn yellow and curl up, while a few were already brown, dry, and dead-looking.As you can see, there are some spots on the stems as well. Only the very lowest stems and leaves on the plants have been affected so far.
My reading indicates that early blight would appear as larger, more irregular shaped spots which may feature concentric rings.
While serious, Septoria leaf spot is not fatal, and I do not need to destroy my plants, thank goodness! The recommended treatment is removal of the diseased leaves, followed by application of a copper-based fungicide spray.
I have already removed all the infected stems. As soon as my newly licensed sixteen year old comes home with my car (a much more stressful situation than spotty tomato leaves, I would add!), I will make a trip to the store to buy a spray with which to soak the remaining leaves! Here’s hoping for a healthy crop of juicy tomatoes soon!