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Tomato Spotted Wilt Disease


Well obviously summer's come and it's hot. That brings good tomatoes of course. We've got some on the vine to pick, at least some of us do, but bad things are beginning to happen to the tomatoes.

A lot of people are calling in and saying, "Hey, I've got some tomatoes but they're pinto. They've got these pinto spots on them. What is that?" This is the result of a plant that's been infected by a virus. It was infected earlier on this spring by thrips and it's called tomato spotted wilt virus. Don't worry about it; the tomato is still good to eat.

A lot of people are calling in and saying, "Hey, my tomatoes, I haven't got anything. I've got a big old plant but I haven't got any fruit. What's the problem with that?" It's either one of two things. Either you've used the wrong variety, such as Bigset or a Betterboy, rather than an Extension suggested varieties, or you did like I did on that particular plant right there; you planted it in the shade. That particular plant and these particular plants were planted at the same time with the same variety. These have had a lot fruit on them that has not had any fruit on it all because it was planted in the shade.

Remembering that from now on with the temperature being over 100 degrees you will set no more tomato blooms. The blooms will fall off. So the tomatoes that you've got on there now, we'll ripen them and then we'll be taking them out in about the last of July and beginning our fall vegetable garden. Tomato crop has not been the best this year but these fresh tomatoes are a lot better than some of the others you've had an opportunity to get, so enjoy what you got.

This is Jerry Parsons Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service the Weekend Gardener.

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