Do you have tomato plants with leaves that are curling? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. This is a common problem with tomatoes, and there are a few things you can do to help you avoid and treat the problem.
This can be a sign of a small issue like simply needing to water your plants or a sign of a bigger issue that needs your attention right away to help protect your garden.
Why tomato leaves curl
Tomatoes commonly curl when the plant is suffering from dehydration. This can happen from drought or simply from a very hot summer day. The good news is that leaves curling can be repaired relatively easily when caught before the leaves start to dry out.
Checking your tomatoes often, particularly on a hot summer day, can be essential to helping your plants thrive and finding other issues like yellowing and browning leaves as well.
There are a few things you can do to help your tomato plants recover from curling levels as well as help prevent the problem from recurring.
How to Help Keep Your Tomato’s Moisture Levels up
Keeping your tomatoes watered is the best thing you can do to help them through hot summer days. Tomatoes are hot weather plants, but they do tend to be very water-hungry plants. The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do to help keep your tomato plants well-watered so they can thrive.
Set up a watering system for your tomato plants. This can be a buried container to help get water deeper into the soil or a drip irrigation system that can be automated to ensure that your plants get enough water even while you are away.
Setting up a system that makes it easy to keep your tomatoes watered can greatly increase your plant’s yield while preventing curling leaves.
Mulching can help reduce evaporation and trap the needed moisture in your garden beds. Mulch is also great for helping to reduce and control weeds that can reduce the water your tomatoes have available to them. Mulch is an easy and cost-effective way to help prevent the curling of your tomato leaves.
How to Help Your Plants Handle Heat Waves
During heat waves, consider providing your tomato plants with some shade. While tomatoes are sun-loving plants, the harsh midday sun can be a bit much for your tomato plants to handle during a major heatwave.
A great way to handle this is to make a light shade for your tomato plants. While you can buy shade cloth, you can also make your own for your tomato plants by hanging white sheets at an angle. These will provide shade while still letting light through to keep your tomato plants thriving.
Mulch comes in handy for this as well. Not only does mulch help to trap moisture in the soil, but it can be a blessing when it comes to helping keep your plants from overheating.
Mulch and living mulch plants can help your tomatoes thrive by providing the roots of the plants with shade to help keep them cooler. Tomatoes are shallow rooted and tend to overheat at the root easily.
Other Common Causes and Fixes for Curling Leaves on Your Tomato Plants
Too much nitrogen is a common problem that can lead to leaf curling. This happens when people spend too much time adding high acid amendments to their soil when they hear that tomato plants love acid.
If this happens, back off of the fertilizer or stick to amendments that add phosphorus and potassium needed for the flowering and fruiting stages of tomato production. Over time this issue will resolve if you stop adding nitrogen to your soil.
Pruning your indeterminate varieties a bit can be a great asset to helping your plants thrive. Conservatively pruning the older leaves on your tomatoes can help reduce how much strain the healthy parts of the plants are under. This will help the remaining parts of the plant to thrive.
Excessive pruning can be as much of an issue as not pruning enough. Avoid over-pruning, which can lead to issues with your plants because they do not have enough leaves left to sustain your plant. Often the plant will begin to die off where you will see noticeable leaf curling. To fix this, fertilize your plants to encourage new leaf production and stop pruning.
Viral disease and some pest infestations like whiteflies can lead to tomato leaf curl. To fix this, you will need to treat the pest that has caused the problem or simply pull up the plant and burn it to prevent the spread of disease among your other plants.
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