Growing plants is a reward in itself. One can find both material and metaphysical value in it. Plus, you come close to nature by raising different types of plants. However, when you do that, there are always some difficulties that may hunt you. For example, you can face other conditions and diseases of your plants that lead to death or loss of value.
If you grow tomato plants, you’ll face one typical situation. Your plant will show whiteness on leaves. Then, slowly it will die or does not produce high-quality tomatoes. Of course, no one wants that and always tries to cure this and have the best possible yield.
This post tells you everything about white spots on your tomato leaves. Here, you’ll know all the reasons behind it, the method to cure it, and the strategies to avoid it. So, read on; it’ll educate you and help you.
Why do leaves turn white?
Whiteness on leaves starts from the border and spreads to all bodies. Eventually, it curls the leaf and turns it into an unhealthy one that does not produce food for the plant. At this point, you cannot do much for the plant, and the only solution is to cut the leaf.
The white spots on leaves can be due to some reasons, such as a fungal disease, sun damage, cold vulnerability, and nutrient imbalance in the soil. But you do not have to worry if you catch the condition in the early phase. Plus, you can perform remedial treatments to save your plant from death.
Mildew: The leading cause of leaves turning white
Air contains a lot of fungal spores that only need favorable conditions to grow into colonies and create fungal masses. So if a place offers moisture, dampness, and suitable temperature, you’ll see clusters of mushrooms growing.
The simplest fungal disease in the tomato plant is mildew. When it accumulates on your plant, you’ll see white spots on leaves. It’s because leaves have moisture and improper sunlight favors mildew in the growth.
Mildew attacks younger plants rather than mature plants. That’s why you have to check your new tomato plants regularly for fungus. So, you can do the remedy quickly before it destroys your plant entirely.
How to treat mildew?
If mildew infects your tomato plant, you can treat it easily and effectively if you follow the following procedures.
Pruning is not only effective as a fungal remedy, but it also helps your plant to grow. So when you find infected leaves on your plant, prune them with a tool. Remember, you must use a sanitized tool for pruning. Otherwise, you can bring more diseases to your plant.
For effective pruning, it’s best to cut all infected leaves. If you find a cluster of white leaves, you should cut the most severely damaged leaves. However, do not cut all leaves. It’ll harm your plant, and it will have no source of food for growth.
2. Neem oil
Neem oil acts as a natural fungicide. It kills the fungus and stops it from further growth. You can use it on your tomato plant without any caution. Just spray it on infected leaves along with other healthy leaves. It’ll cure mildew with time.
For preparing neem oil spray, you should mix two parts of water with one part of neem oil. Next, apply it to your plant every week. You have to use it until all symptoms of mildew disappear.
3. Milk spray
Milk spray is an effective fungicide that works well against powdery mildew. Plus, it is also a cost-effective solution for the white leaves’ problem.
You have to mix three parts of water with two parts of the milk. Then, you have the best recipe against fungus. Next, spray the solution on infected leaves. It’s best to use milk spray once a week until it cures all symptoms.
How to prevent mildew?
It’s always best to stop a disease before it produces ill effects. That’s why the following tips can prevent mildew from thriving on your tomato plants.
1. Spacing and pruning
Poor air circulation cause fungus, and when you put tomato plants close to each other, it provides a favorable environment for mildew. When one plant gets infected, it transfers the fungus to the next plant. Thus, it’s necessary to put appropriate spacing between your tomato plants.
The rule of thumb is to leave at least 18 inches of space between two plants. This way, you ensure proper air circulation along with the best distance to stop any fungal infection.
Pruning also helps you stop the fungal infection. When you see too many leaves on one branch, just cut half of them. It’ll grow your plant better, along with minimal chances of mildew infection.
Lighting arrangements also play a vital part in tomato plant growth. You have to provide at least six hours of direct sunlight. But keep in mind. Too much sunlight can also harm your plants. So, shade your plants after 8 hours of full sun.
If you keep your tomato plants indoors, you’ll have greater chances of mildew growth. So, it’s best to keep your plants outside under direct light.
3. Resistant varieties
To stop the spread and growth of mildew, you can plant resistant varieties of tomato plants, along with other types. First, you have to place the resistant plant between the two regular plants. This way, the infection will never go from one plant to the next.
Some plant varieties like Grandero are the best to prevent mildew growth in your tomato crop. So, use them for your benefit.
Sun scalding: The second most common cause of leaves turning white
It is a common practice that you germinate tomato seeds indoors. When your plants are mature enough, you place them outdoors. But due to this, tomato plants also become sensitive to bright and direct light. As a result, white spots appear on leaves that also lead to the curling of leaves. It’s called sun scalding.
Thus, you must act very, very carefully before placing your tomato plants under the direct sun.
How to prevent it?
To prevent sun scalding, you have to transfer your plant multiple times before putting them under the full sun. First, put your plants from indoors to a shady place with medium-level bright light conditions. Next, after two or three days, you must transfer your plants to full bright light conditions but in the shade.
Then, after three days, you must transfer your plant to a completely sunny place. When you do that, your plant will gradually adjust itself to the light. This way, the leaves will never turn white.
Nutrients imbalance: The third most common cause of leaves turning white
Too much or too few nutrients in the soil can turn leaves into white or yellow. It often happens due to a deficiency of nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, or magnesium in the ground.
How to cure it?
You can use any tomato fertilizer to meet the needs of phosphorous and nitrogen in the soil. Plus, you can use garden lime to cure the deficiency of calcium. Further, you can analyze the soil and add the recommended fertilizer to provide the right combination of nutrients to your plants.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: Do white marks tell that the plant is dying?
White leaves indicate that something infects the plant. But at this stage, you can save your plant by pruning white leaves. However, if you do not do anything, your plant will eventually die.
Q2: Can we eat leaves with white spots?
White spots on leaves indicate that there is a bacterial or fungal infection. So, if you consume them, you’ll also get fungus or bacteria in your body. That’s why it’s not good to eat white-spotted leaves.
How to water tomato plants?
A mature tomato plant needs one gallon of water per week. Plus, the need for water also depends upon the size of the plant. First, however, you must calculate plants’ requirements, then water them accordingly. Remember, if the ground around your plants is dry, you must water it immediately.
Why do tomato leaves curl?
The curling of leaves is always a reaction to the change in the environment. For example, if the leaves curl upward, it is due to the hot sun. On the other hand, if leaves are curling in other ways, it could be due to wind or dry air.
Lack of nutrients also causes the curling of leaves. That’s why you can also add a suitable fertilizer to the soil to cure it. However, you’ll plant will never die due to the curling of leaves.
In a nutshell
Fungal infection, intense and sudden exposure to sunlight, and imbalance of nutrients can cause white spots on tomato leaves. However, you must not worry about it because it is curable and preventable. We described all methods of cure and prevention. So, use them when you see white marks on your tomato leaves. Have a great day.