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Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :( Empty Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :(

Post  msomers on 8/2/2020, 2:16 pm

Hi All!
 
All has been going well but earlier this week I noticed a few of my San Marzano Toms were staying small and going from green to a blotchy brown. Aside from some blossom end rot most of the other tomatoes on the plant are growing and starting to ripen. I have had a decent amount of leaf curl on both San Marzano plants (planted next to each other) but it's been HOT here in Denver, CO so I figured it was just the plant coping with the heat. I was thinking/hoping maybe the branch had some damage. But now some of the fruits on other branches are starting to look off and in looking closer some of the leaves look discolored. 
 
I looked through the forum and didn't see anything specific to what I'm seeing.  A google search lead me to Tomato Mosaic Virus, or Tobacco Virus which seems would be pretty devastating  Sad  But it could also be like googling headache and being told you have brain cancer when actually you're just dehydrated Razz
 
Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!! I put the beds in this year and I'm praying I don't have to pull everything up.


Here is what I'm seeing...

Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :( Img_3513
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Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :( Img_3516
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Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :( Img_3519
Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :( Img_3518
Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :( Img_3517
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Post  Yardslave on 8/2/2020, 4:10 pm

It looks like blossom end rot to me. It is caused by a calcium deficiency, or by dumping too much epsom salt into the soil- the calcium may be there, but it's chemically bound to the magnesium and the plant can not take it in. A quick remedy is a foliar spray:

Calcium spray
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Post  sanderson on 8/2/2020, 5:35 pm

I don't know much about plant diseases, but looking through online photos, that one spotted tomato looks similar to Pepine or tomato mosaic virus. Sad

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Post  AuntieBeth on 8/3/2020, 5:47 pm

I had squash mosaic virus last year that was spread to everything (well, lots of things) in my garden by nasty pickleworms.  Growing up in PA I never had to deal with them. Ugh. They are horrible.

But the mosaic viruses do make me shiver!!  Any research I do on them threatens my sanity and make we wonder if I should burn the garden down.

All that to say, the virus shows up for me in the leaves first, and then the fruit, and I'd suspect you either (possibly) have the very beginnings of symptoms, or you might have a different problem altogether. That would be ideal!!  The spots on that yucky looking tomato you shared do look like they could be damage from leaf-cutter bugs. (an elongated stinkbug with big wide "wings" on their long back legs.)  I've dealt with them before, and they inject nasty juices into tomatoes which turn into those yucky looking brown spots.  If you do see them hanging around, I'd feel very hopeful because they're easier to deal with than the virus!!  (They can be sucked up with a small battery powered vacuum in the mornings or evenings when they're a little slower to fly off.

If you do determine that you definitely have one of the viruses, don't lose hope. =) There's life after a virus!  It's not as bad as brain cancer.  And there's life after brain cancer too!!
But also don't delay in getting rid of the plant.  Even on a hot summer evening, a backyard fire in the fire pit brings some cheer when it's destroying a diseased plant.

Although a wide variety of garden crops are affected by the mosaic virus (I planted pole beans in the same spot as my affected pumpkins last year by mistake and they made very nice funky shaped leaves and flowers and no beans at all) there are things you can grow there that won't be bothered by it. =)  I hope the very best for your tomatoes.
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Post  msomers on 8/3/2020, 6:51 pm

Thanks all! I’ve reached out to our local agricultural extension office to see if they can offer some help. I’d really hate to dig up and lose the plant if it’s not actually a virus. 

AuntieBeth, Thanks for the thoughts. I haven’t seen any cutter bugs...so unfortunately I don’t think they’re the culprit. How did you determine you had the most virus on your squash? Was it just appearance or are there tests that can be done?

If it is a virus do you know if the good looking fruit can be harvested before the plant is torn out and destroyed? I’ve got a number of good looking tomatoes that are ready to be picked. I’ve also used the same shears on all my tomato plants and now worry I’ve exposed them all  Sad
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Post  Docwas on 8/3/2020, 8:04 pm

Reaching out to your county extension service is the right thing to do.  They should be able to steer you to a lab that can actually test to verify whether you have the mosaic virus or not.  I suspect that there is a plant diseases clinic connected to CSU.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/3/2020, 8:57 pm

Hi, msomers—

Honestly, it does look like a virus to me.  However, it looks like you have some salvageable harvest to get off.  I would do that.  

Pull everything that is reasonable clean.  Isolate it and allow it to ripen—you will know if it’s infected.

The blisters On the fruits  are the hallmark.  Hope someone else proves me wrong.
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Post  AuntieBeth on 8/3/2020, 9:15 pm

I definitely could identify it visually by the streaky, misshapen leaves and fruits once the virus got in full swing...  I'm glad you are having some experts help you out!  I know the squash mosaic virus doesn't affect the edibility of the fruit, but it may prevent them from ripening properly.
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Post  msomers on 8/6/2020, 4:57 pm

Hi All, 

Thank you again for chiming in on my post. Posting an update in case anyone else is having similar issues in the future. 

After reaching out to every local expert I could think of I was finally put in touch with the diagnostic clinic at our county's extension office (silver lining I had no idea these guys existed and they are such a great local resource!). 

I got the results back today and it's Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus...caused by this guy Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :( Icon_evil

Tomato Mosaic Virus...Fearing the Worst :( Banded10

And now, I'm about to head out and cut down the plant Sad ...really hoping it hasn't spread to any of the others!!
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Post  AuntieBeth on 8/6/2020, 5:03 pm

Ohhhh So sorry to hear that!
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Post  Yardslave on 8/7/2020, 12:26 pm

Dang it! The sooner those infected plants are gone, the better- they are like a bad tooth. Perhaps you can plant something in their place before the growing season leaves you behind. You are in zone 7b, so get out some compost and prep the beds again. Start some seeds indoors for the fall garden, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Chinese cabbage and scallions. Sow carrots, beets, kale and chard in the partial shade of taller plants. Make your last sowings of squash and cucumbers. 
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Post  Docwas on 8/24/2020, 8:25 pm

Foliar sprays of calcium are not beneficial for tomato plants, even if BER exists.  Calcium is unable to move from the leaves back to the plant, and therefore to the fruit.  This is true for foliar sprays of other nutrients too. Some foliar sprays can be used for diagnostic purposes.  For example, if a nitrogen or iron deficiency is suspected based on changes in the leaves, spraying the leaves with a soluble form of nitrogen or iron to see if the leaves improve can help you diagnosis if a deficiency exists, but the plant will still be deficient in the missing nutrient unless the nutrient can be taken up by the roots.
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