Tomatoes Fight Bugs, Disease


This year has been a difficult season for many Chicago area tomato plants. While the tomato plants in our garden have fared quite well in comparison to others, they aren’t looking as healthy as they could be.

Earlier in the growing season, the tomatoes only had a handful of brown and yellowing leaves at the base of the plant. As the season progressed and the tomatoes continued to grow taller, the brown and yellowing leaves spread up the plant.

“At this point of the year, you’re going to have leaves die back,” said Stephanie Drozd, The Organic Gardener maintenance crew member. “There’s not much you can do about it.”

“It’s normal for [tomato] plants to die from the bottom up,” Courtney Behrens added. “It’s not uncommon for tomatoes to have some type of problem or show signs of an infection.”

In addition to the disease, the tomato plants have been attacked by aphids and white flies.

“Bugs and disease tend to come together,” Behrens said. “Either the bugs brought on the disease or the disease weakened the plant and the bugs took advantage of that.”

Figuring out which came first is difficult, Behrens added. Despite these problems, the tomato plants haven’t stop producing delicious tomatoes.