Tomatoes are delicious and, when eaten, bring one satisfaction. So when you see that your tomato plants are finding it hard to survive, it can be really sad to see. In this post, I’ll show you how to treat the curly top virus in tomatoes.
If you take note that your tomato plant has stopped growing and they now look curly and thick, it shows that your tomato has been infected with the curly top virus.
The curly top virus is a disease carried around by the leafhopper. And this article will discuss few things you can do to remove this virus and stop its spread in your garden.
1. Take note of curly, thickened, and leathery leaves on your tomato plant
Check out for signs that indicate that your leaves have been infected with the curly top virus.
Signs such as contaminated leaves looking dwarfed, crinkled, rolled inwards or cupped upwards. Take note of whether the leaves are thick and leathery.
- Some symptoms of the virus also include the purple coloration of the veins on the underside of the leaves
- Young and small tomato plants may be yellow in color instead of the normal green.
2. As your tomatoes show signs of infection, remove the infected plants.
Pull the plant from the ground by grasping its base and pulling it out. Then, throw away the plant in the garbage can so that the virus would not spread to other plants.
- Leafhoppers are the ones who transmit the curly top virus, not by contact, though. However, they spread the virus if the leaves of the infected plants are eaten.
3. Uproot any weed that is growing
Weeds that are growing near your garden can also be infected and show signs of the virus. So to keep the virus from spreading to the tomato plant, pull out the weed from the ground.
- The best way to avoid the spread of the virus is by removing plants and weeds that are infected
4. Cut back the top to encourage side growth and to save the plant.
To save your tomato plant, make use of tools such as a pair of pruning shears or sharp gardening scissors or a knife to cut back the plant.
Remove the top and the center to urge side growth and make your plant survive the more.
- The infected tomato plant will likely die, but there is a possibility that the plant may survive and produce fruits. Infected plants generally beat fruits that are premature or wrinkled
- Keeping the infected leaves without removing them can cause the virus to spread.
5. Select virus free tomato transplants
Before you grow tomato plants in your garden, examine them and take note of whether they have features like curly and leathery leaves. This will show that they might be infected with the curly top virus.
When choosing the tomato plants to plant, make sure to choose healthy ones to avoid introducing or even spreading the virus in your garden.
- Due to the fact that the curly top virus is spread by leafhoppers, it is possible to see a healthy tomato with a bad one when you buy them. But it does not imply that the healthy plants have been contaminated
- If you are in doubt whether a transplant has the virus or not, stay on the safer side and avoid choosing it.
6. Choose a variety of tomato that is very resistant to the curly top virus
There are four varieties of tomato that are very resistant to the curly top virus. These are; Colombian, Roza, Salad Master, and lastly, the Row Pac.
So when you want to select tomato for your garden, look for one of these varieties and choose it to reduce the risk of your plant being infected.
- To find these varieties of resistant tomato plants, check your local nursery or online.
7. Do not space your tomato plant too much to prevent the curly top
Whenever you plant your tomato in the ground, put them close together to encourage dense plant growth and also to prevent the curly top virus.
- This dense plant spacing is also known as “double spacing.”
- The double planting will lead to small and few yields of tomatoes.
8. To keep leafhoppers away, place netted cage over tomato plants.
Netted cage is also known as a tomato cage. This cage helps to protect young plants after planting.
To prevent leafhoppers, choose a netted cage with smaller holes to cover your plants. When you see that the plant is now mature, you can remove the netted cage.
- The netted cage also provides shade for your plant, which also can protect young plants from leafhoppers.
9. Use a shade cloth to cover your tomato plants
Shade cloth is made out of polyester material that is loosely woven. The shade cloth was made to block the sun and provide shade to your plant.
When plants are mature, hang the shade cloth over them to protect them from the leafhoppers.
- The leafhoppers like to eat in the sun, so putting your tomato in the shade can be effective to deter them from your plant
- Shade cloths are permeable so that you can water your plant in them.
10. To keep out the virus, spray the insecticide once a week
As said earlier, the leafhopper spreads the curly top virus, so you need to control the pest in your garden so that your tomato plant does not get infected.
To control the number of pests in your garden, spray insecticide in your garden.
- You can make your own natural insecticide for a more environmentally-friendly option.
- Do not spray insecticide in your tomato plant, as it is not the best way to remove leafhoppers. You need to regularly spray the insecticide in your garden. This is to chase away or kill the leafhoppers and other insects that may land in your garden.
Tip to remember
Always examine your plants. This way, you will see whether they have been infected or not. And if they have, because of your regular observation, you will be quick to treat them before they die.
Things you will need are:
- A pair of pruning shears
- Sharp knife or sharp scissors
- Gardening gloves
- Shade cloth
- Tomato cage, etc.
Keep in mind that every plant needs constant examination, care, and attention, and so is your tomato plant. When you apply these tips to prevent the curly top virus, you will cultivate a healthy and tasty tomato plant.
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