Q: My Better Boys are showing this yellow pattern on the leaves. These two plants seem healthy but the new growth shows light green.
A: I think someone (I name no names!) got too close to the tomatoes with their sprayer of Roundup.
Yellow tissue at the base of tomato leaves is a classic symptom of glyphosate exposure. Tomatoes are extremely sensitive to this and other herbicides.
Dr. Stanley Culpepper at UGA says: “Glyphosate damage, no doubt. The product does not volatilize. It has physically drifted from somewhere…….i.e. either somebody sprayed to close to the plants or somebody sprayed when the wind was blowing hard enough for it to drift over.
“Keep in mind a 1/50th to 1/150th rate can do this type of damage. Many of the plants will survive, the glyphosate will likely reduce fruit set and could cause some deformed fruit but eventually when the plant gets large enough to dilute the glyphosate to a low enough level it will produce normal fruit again if some disease doesn’t take them out first.”
Plant pathologist David Langston concurs with: “I have seen it happen from almost 100 YARDS away. Tomatoes are the most sensitive plant there is to glyphosate injury.”
Scissor off the leaves and observe the plant. If it continues to grow normally, I would have no problem eating the fruit.