Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A reader recently sent me these two photos of their young tomatoes. The two images below are of a couple of plants from their container garden in Manhattan.

The question was about the tan spots on the lower leaves.
I think this is simply environmental damage from shifting the tender plants to the outdoors. I think this because the spots are tan, not circular, only on the old leaves, and I do not see other signs of damage. If they follow up, I'll find out if it's continuing to happen- that would change my opinion.

Any ideas?


  1. I'd guess spider mites or aphids. Tell them to check underneath the leaves for more signs of the little critters.

  2. I thought it might be whiteflies possibly from a greenhouse environment. Just didn't know enough about the seedlings -if they bought them or grew them from seed.

    Hmmm. Spider mites over aphids. Aphids usually easy to spot clustering near new growth. Spider mite damage is similar to white fly at a glance. Under the leaves. They'll need to tell me more...

  3. I have to say that my tomatoes' outer leaves did the same after moving from shady terrace floor to sun. And I HAVE sen a m^@&*!$$# red spider mite, but indoors. So now I will check.

  4. This could be either spider mite or dessication. Is there any webbing in the leaf axils? Sometimes those tiny little mites are SO hard to see, spraying the leaves with water highlights the webbing. If I were a betting woman I'd say (and I hope!) wind burn from the transfer from indoors to out.

  5. Hi, I'm the owner of these plants (and about 35 more tomatoes just like it!)
    I did grow them from seed, and they did get hardened off for a week before living full-time outside.
    A few days after these pictures, it because easy to see APHIDS! They were tiny and black with clear wings so I was confused about what they were for several days. I'd never had aphids and thought they were supposed to be green.
    After several treatments with insecticidal soap and some homemade garlic pesticide AND a few applications of live ladybugs, the garden is looking great!

  6. Tracey,

    Just so you know, aphids will come in almost any color- orange, yellow, green, black, red, gray.

    Aphids tend to cluster on new growth. I'm surprised they did this to your tomatoes!


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