Yellow leaves on tomato plants - Get rid of yellow tomato leaves and find out their causes
Yellow leaves on tomato plants
Yellow leaves on tomato plants occur naturally as well as due to various other issues. The yellow tomato leaves could either be due to silly reasons like overwatering or may be due to deficiencies or in severe circumstances pest attacks. Tomato plant leaves turning yellow can really frighten us gardeners - because, after all our hard work we never want to see our precious tomato plants dying.
It’s not always necessary that plant defects are caused by pests or plant diseases more often it is due to the lack of a nutrient or even excess of it. When I say nutrient it even includes water in this case. The wrong proportion of nutrients may lead to foliage decolourisation or even distortion of the leaves. So finding the exact cause of your yellow tomato leaves is a challenging task. But once done right you can reap red juicy tomatoes year after year because you'll never make the same mistakes again for the coming years tomato crop.
Causes for yellow leaves on tomato plants
There are various causes of yellow leaves on tomato plants; they’re explained in detail below. Be sure to check them all out before you’re off to fix the problem. Because, very often there can be multiple causes to yellow tomato leaves. You’ll want to know them all before you try fixing them.
Causes for yellow leaves on tomatoes -
- Moisture content - One of the main causes is improper watering. Tomato plants need perfect soil moisture levels. The soil shouldn’t be too damp not too dry it should be just perfect – More like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. You should check your soil moisture every now and then keeping it under control. Depending on your local weather conditions you’ll need to water the tomato plants. Some places you’ll need to water them multiple times a day whereas in other places just a few times a week. Yellow leaves on tomato plants can be prevented if you optimize the level of water that you provide your tomato plants.
- Quality of soil – For now let’s forget about the nutrients in your soil. We’re worried about the soil texture. Is your soil well maintained? I mean is it loose enough so that your tomato plants can spread their roots properly? If this is the problem try loosening the soil around your tomato plants it may just be the cause behind your tomato plant leaves turning yellow.
- Fungal or bacterial attack – Another cause of yellow leaves on tomatoes could be fungal and bacterial attacks. There are various types of Fungal or bacterial attacks and they’ll need to be diagnosed by specialists – contact your garden center in this case. This will help you in the future because a problem once solved will let you grow tasty tomatoes annually from then on without worrying about your plant suffering.
- Tomato pests – Very often yellow leaves on tomatoes may mean an invasion. Not an alien invasion but an invasion by worms and caterpillars. You need to thoroughly inspect your tomato plants for caterpillars and worms because they are camouflaged so well that they look like tomato leaves or stems thereby escaping unnoticed only to wreck more havoc. You could easily take care of this problem on your own with the help of various types of pesticides – organic pesticides preferably.
Macro and Micronutrient deficiencies - Yellow leaves on tomato plants could be caused due to the deficiency of nutrients in your gardens soil or the incapability of your tomato plants in absorbing the nutrients. You need to know how to exactly fertilize your tomato plants in order to receive a bountiful crop.
Macronutrients – Macronutrients are the nutrients needed by your tomato plants in large amounts for their growth and proper functioning. They include Nitrogen. Calcium, Sulphur, Magnesium, Potassium and of course Phosphorus.
Micronutrients – Micronutrients are as important as Macronutrients but the quantity required is much less compared to Macronutrients. Micronutrients include everything right from Copper, Manganese, Iron as well as Zinc.
Yellow tomato leaves due to nutrition deficiency
Yellow tomato leaves are often caused due to nutrition deficiency. They can easily be prevented if you ensure the right nutrients in your garden soil.
Yellow leaves on tomatoes due to lack of absorption:
Tomato plants can absorb nutrients only through their roots. If this is prevented for any reason whatsoever then your tomato plants are going to lack key nutrients. Water is the medium through which tomato plants absorb nutrients from the soil. Therefore, you need to ensure the presence of sufficient water – not excess; problems related to excess water have already been discussed.
Is your soil pH acidic or alkaline? Tomato plants are very timid and need the right pH range for successful absorption of nutrients. So don’t add excess of fertilizers to your garden. Excess fertilizers lead to high pH. But for the proper growth of your tomato plants you’ll need to add a little fertilizer.
- Lack of Nitrogen: -
Yellow leaves on tomato plants can be caused do to the lack of Nitrogen. Due to the deficiency of Nitrogen the older leaves at the bottom usually turn yellow whereas the upper new leaves remain bright green as though there’s no problem at all. However, you’ll notice that the overall growth rate drops and your tomato plants will be shunted. You could add urea or ammonium to the soil or any other form of manure.
- Deficiency of Potassium: -
· Yellow leaves on tomatoes can be caused due to the lack of Potassium as well. The leaf as a whole doesn’t turn yellow; the area between veins turns yellowish and the leaves may wilt. You could add potash to your soil in case this is the cause.
- Calcium deficiency: -
A deficiency of calcium could be the cause of your tomato plant leaves turning yellow. The growing tips of the tomato plant may turn yellow and die within a few days. This is known as blossom end rot. Adding any compound containing calcium will work wonders.
- Lack of Magnesium: -
Yellow tomato leaves could very well be caused because your garden soil is poor in Magnesium. This will result in stunted growth and the outer edges of your tomato leaves may end up becoming pale and yellow. Epson salts are a good source of Magnesium to your soil.
- Sulphur deficiency: -
· The new leaves are yellow and the older foliage remains fresh and green. The tomato plant suffers from stunted growth.
- Zinc deficiency: -
Deficiency of Zinc is a big cause of yellow tomato leaves. Lack of Zinc leads to the area between veins turning yellow especially in the new leaves. This often leads to a bunch of small leaves at the top (a rosette)
Growing Tomatoes - Guides and tips
Check out some of the articles I've written on growing tomatoes as well as caring for them once they've begun growing.
Yellow leaves on tomato plants - what should I do?
Yellow leaves on tomato plants – Not always a cause of worry
If you observe any plant eventually all the older leaves wilt and die. Similarly your tomato plant will also have yellow leaves at the bottom. Also it could be due to the lack of sunshine due to shading by the higher leaves. As long as the plant continues to grow healthily and produce fruits you need not worry about yellow tomato leaves.
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