Name That Tomato Problem Please!!

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Date Photo Taken: June 22nd
Location: Marietta, GA
Posted By: Nevis Walker


This is the 2nd year in a row that I have had this problem… tomatoes grow fine when young, but at about 1.5 feet high, the new growth is stunted and curly. The bottom half of the plan looks normal, the top half small and curly. Photos attached. Color seems normal, no bugs on plants to speak of… Concern: garden is slightly raised -I use miracle grow to start them, but 6 inches down or so red GA clay. Garden is located near (12 feet) large oak trees. Pepper plants and cucumber in same garden do fine. Please help!


  1. Walter Reeves The Georgia Gardener says:

    I name it HERBIE!

    June 24th, 2011 at 10:07 am
  2. Walter Reeves The Georgia Gardener says:

    Herbie is short for herbicide damage..either from grass clippings mulch or manure in the soil or lawn weed killer applied nearby.

    Could you let me know which it is? I’m trying to discover all the common sources of tomato herbicide damage.

    June 24th, 2011 at 10:09 am
  3. Valerie dunham Unregistered says:

    Walter, peppers in lower right of photo look fine?, could it br nematodes? I accidentally introduced them into one of my. Gardens six years ago, and my plants looked like his. I pluued ine, and sure enough th knots were on the roots.
    Just curious…..

    June 24th, 2011 at 10:20 am
  4. Nevis Walker Registered says:

    Hi Walter and Valerie,
    Thanks for the replies. I have never put down any herbicide on my garden. About three years ago, I did treat my entire back yard with round up in preparation to plant grass (this garden area was included in that treatment then). This is my 2nd year with this garden, and as I mentioned, it seems that only the tomatoes suffer. 2 feet away I have pepper plants, cucumber and broccoli and they all look normal. When I built the garden, I mixed (Top 6-8 inches) of the GA clay with “flower mix” soil from a local landscaper. I also put down Viagoro All Purpose Plant food (12-5-7) per the instructions. Thanks again for the help! If you want me to pull up one of the plants and photo roots, just let me know. Thanks again. ~Nevis

    June 26th, 2011 at 11:18 am
  5. George Pendergraft Unregistered says:

    I have the exact same problem with my tomatoes, and for the same length of time (two years). It even affected my pepper plants too. The leaves slimmed up and got kind of pointy and the peppers stopped producing.
    I do not believe that it is herbicide because I am careful not to use herbicide near my vegetable garden.
    I am also very interested in finding out what the problem is, as I have never seen it before in my 30 year old vegetable garden. It just showed up 2 years ago and it affected my tomato and pepper harvest.

    May 30th, 2013 at 10:53 am
  6. Walter Reeves The Georgia Gardener says:

    Keep thinking about where the herbicide could be coming from….mulch, manure, nearby spray, etc

    May 30th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

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