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Tomato Plant Diseases Pests, & Problems, How To Identify, Prevent, 2023

Tomato Plant Diseases

Tomato Plant Diseases Pests, & Problems, How To Identify, Prevent, 2023

Tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, and potato are popular garden crops belonging to the nightshade family and vulnerable to diseases that can reduce or completely ruin crops. Some of these diseases affect the fruits, while others destroy the foliage. In any case, the health and vigor of the plants suffer adverse effects.

The following are the most common symptoms of tomato, pepper, eggplant, and potato diseases and how to control them. Unless otherwise noted, GardenTech® Daconil® concentrated fungicide containing chlorothalonil, an active ingredient that acts against fungal pathogens, can effectively treat these diseases.

Disease: Anthracnose – Tomato Plant Diseases

Vegetable plants affected: eggplant, pepper, and tomato

Symptoms: Damages caused by anthracnose, a disease caused by fungi, are seen in ripening fruits and are manifested in the form of dark lesions and subsidence on the surface. 1 The whole fruit ends up rotting prematurely on the plant. This condition is common in regions exposed to high humidity, such as the southern United States.

Control: Anthracnose spores live in the soil, so you should avoid watering from above as it will cause splashes that will transfer the spores to the plant and infect it. Make sure that healthy fruits do not touch the ground to avoid infection. In infected plants, spores congregate on ripening fruits, which is why you should harvest the fruits as soon as they are ready to eat. Then collect and discard the rotten fruit instead of letting it fall to the ground. Every three years, plant only non-nightshade plants in your bed for an entire season to help stop the disease cycle. 2

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Disease: Blight (early action) – Tomato Plant Diseases

Symptoms:  Damage caused by rust or early-acting blight, another fungal disease, is seen as circular brown spots on leaves and stems. The spots enlarge, creating concentric rings that look like a target shot, eventually encompassing the entire foliage, leading to defoliation. In severe cases, the plant loses all the lower leaves and dies. 3

Control:  Early-acting blight spores live in the soil, so avoid overhead watering to prevent infected soil from spraying onto the foliage. Since blight thrives in humid, poorly ventilated areas, leave a minimum 12-inch space between plants to allow adequate air circulation. To help prevent the spread of disease, remove andanddispose of all infected plants immediately. 3

Disease: Blight (late action) – Tomato Plant Diseases

Vegetable plants affected: eggplant, pepper, potato, and tomato

Damage:  The fungus that causes late-acting blight is  Phytophthora infestans, and its name means “plant destroyer” in Latin. This deadly disease was the one that attacked potato crops and led to the Great Irish Famine in 1840. damage years annihilator of this plant is seen as injuries brown and black foliage and rapidly spread to the entire plant. 4 

Control:  Late blight is a windborne, soil-dwelling fungal pathogen, so you should remove and dispose of infected plants as soon as possible to help prevent the spread of the disease. 5 Also, keep the growing area free of weeds as they harbor the disease, and avoid overhead watering to prevent infected soil from being sprayed onto the foliage. 2

Disease: Fusariosis – Tomato Plant Diseases

Vegetable plants affected: eggplant, pepper, potato, and tomato.

Symptoms:  Fusarium infected tomato and potato plants experience foliage weakness, followed by yellowing, wilting, and finally, death of the lower leaves. Infected pepper plants deteriorate first at the base of the stem, followed by wilting of the lower leaves and shortly after the entire plant. Damage to eggplant is shown as wilting from the lower leaves to the upper ones, followed by the collapse of the entire plant.

Control:  There is no treatment for fusariosis, which is why the best control option for tomato growers is to plant tomato varieties that are resistant to the disease. Hardy plants have an F (for fusarium) on the label and seed packets. Unfortunately, there are no varieties of potatoes, aubergines, or peppers resistant to this disease.

As soon as you detect the first symptoms of the disease in these plants, could you remove them and discard them? If a fusarium continues to cause problems every season in a specific garden area, avoid planting nightshade plants in that space for at least four years.

6 Fusarium by leaving the soil in the sun for an entire season To do this, cover the floor with a clear plastic tarp for about 4 to 6 weeks during the warmest time of year The trapped heat will kill disease-causing pathogens in the top 12 to 18-inch layer of soil. 7 Since cucumber beetles help spread the disease, 9 keep them under control with Amdro Quick Kill® Lawn and Garden Insecticide (RTS).

Disease: Gray mold – Tomato Plant Diseases

Vegetable plants affected: eggplant, pepper, potato, and tomato

Symptoms: Gray mold is a fungal disease that appears as circular brown or gray spots on leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. Over time, the stains turn into a velvety mold. 9 Flower buds develop abnormally, turn brown, and fall off before blooming. When the flowers sprout, they are usually covered in brown spots. 10

Control:  Gray mold thrives in the shade, so you should plant tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant in full sun. 9 The disease also spreads rapidly under poorly ventilated growing conditions, so provide good air circulation by spacing plants a minimum of 12 inches apart. To prevent the spread of this disease, remove and discard infected plants as soon as you detect symptoms. Also, remove and discard any foliage and flower buds that have fallen to the ground. Gray mold spores live in soil, so avoid overhead watering as it can splash soil onto plants and spread disease. 10

Disease: Septoria – Tomato Plant Diseases

Vegetable plants affected:  eggplant, pepper, and tomato.

Symptoms:  Septoria is a fungal disease that begins as yellow spots on the lower leaves and progresses to circular spots with dark edges and gray centers. Over time, the spots reach a diameter of one-eighth of an inch, and the edges turn yellow. Black freckles may appear in the center of the spots. In severe cases, the leaves fall, first at the base of the plant and then at the top. Upon reaching that point, without the protection of the leaves, the fruits are exposed to the danger of being burned by the sun eleven

Control:  Many weeds harbor septoria fungus, so you should mow your lawn regularly. Avoid overhead watering so as not to splash soil onto the plants and thus prevent the spread of disease. To prevent disease flare-up again year after year, remove and discard tomato, pepper, and eggplant plants immediately after bearing fruit, and plant these crops in a different area of ​​the garden each year.

Disease: Verticillosis – Tomato Plant Diseases

Vegetable plants affected:  eggplant, pepper, potato, and tomato.

Symptoms:  Generally, verticillus symptoms do not appear until after the plant has produced a bumper crop or unless the weather is parched. The lower leaves will turn pale with brown edges, and the plant will lose its leaves over time. Sometimes symptoms are seen only on one side of the plant. Infected plants usually survive, but a reduction in harvest and little growth will be seen. 6

Prevention: There is no treatment for verticillus, so the best way to control the disease is by planting varieties of tomatoes that are resistant to the disease. Resistant plants are marked with a V (for whorl) on the label or seed packets. Unfortunately, there are no whorl-resistant varieties of potato, eggplant, or pepper. Therefore, to control the spread of the disease, remove and discard infected plants as soon as you detect symptoms. If the disease continues to affect a specific area of ​​your garden for several seasons, avoid planting plants of the nightshade family in that space for at least four years, or leave the soil in the sun for one growing season. 

Conclusion: Tomato Plant Diseases

Healthy plants are more likely to resist disease. 12 Allow your garden to get plenty of sunshine and water and maintain a good level of nutrition with a high-quality fertilizer like Lilly Miller® 10-10-10 Multi-Purpose Planting and Growing Nutrient.

Always read the product label and follow directions carefully.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home & Garden, Inc.

Daconil is a registered trademark of GB Biosciences Corp.

Lilly Miller and Amdro Quick Kill are registered trademarks of Central Garden & Pet Company.


1. “Anthracnose Colletotrichum orbicular Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, July 2009.

2. John P. Damicone and Lynn Brandenberger, “Comm Tomato Diseases,” Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

3. Brian Hudelson, “Early Blight”, University of Wisconsin Extension, March 10, 2012.

4. Schumann, GL and CJ D’Arcy, “Late blight of potato and tomato,” American Society for Plant Pathology, 2005.

5. Abby Seaman and various authors, “Late Blight: A Serious Disease of Potatoes and Tomatoes,” Cornell University Comprehensive Pest Control Program.

Tomato Plant Diseases Pests, & Problems, How To Identify, Prevent, 2023

6. Sally A. Miller and various authors, “Fusarium and Verticillium Wilts of Tomato, Potato, Pepper, and Eggplant,” Ohio State University Extension.

7. JJ Stapleton et al., “Soil Solarization for Gardens & Landscapes,” University of California Comprehensive Pest Control State Program, October 2008.

8. “Fusarium wilting”, natural planet.

9. Joey Williamson, “Gray Mold (Botrytis Blight)”, Clemson University Cooperative Extension, February 2015.

10. “Botrytis Blight”, Missouri Botanical Garden.

11. Howard F. Schwartz and David H. Gent, “Septoria Leaf Spot”, University of Wyoming, University of Nebraska, Colorado State University and Montana State University, April 1, 2007.

12. Simeon Wright and Christopher Starbuck, “Preventing and Managing Plant Diseases,” University of Missouri Extension, April 2008.

What are common tomato diseases? Tomato Plant Diseases

Here’s the low-down on six of the most common tomato plant diseases with information on identifying, preventing, and managing each of them.

  • Early blight. …
  • Fusarium wilt. …
  • Late blight. …
  • Septoria leaf spot. …
  • Southern bacterial wilt. …
  • Verticillium wilt.

What do tomato diseases look like?

Symptoms in tomato plants are the upward curling of leaves, yellow (chlorotic) leaf margins, smaller leaves than normal, plant stunting, and flower drop. If tomato plants are infected early in their growth, there may be no fruit formed. Infected plants may appear randomly throughout the garden.

What does blight look like on a tomato plant?

Early blight symptoms usually begin after the first fruits appear on tomato plants, starting with a few small, brown lesions on the bottom leaves. As the lesions grow, they take the shape of target-like rings, with dry, dead plant tissue in the center.

What is the most common tomato disease?


Anthracnose is a very common disease that can infect the leaves, fruit, and flowers of a large variety of plants. In tomatoes, it primarily infects fruit on the vine that are ripe or overripe.

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Tomato Plant Diseases

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