Old soil often contains microscopic worms called Nematodes which can clog-up a plant’s plumbing system.

The sun is out, the sky is blue, there’s not a cloud to spoil the view – but you’ve got droopy leaves!

You give your wilting plants a good watering, move them into the shade if they’re in a large pot and mist their leaves with the sprayer. Hopefully, their leaves will pick-up and look normal again.

However, there are times when wilting becomes a recurring situation and more than just lack of water is the cause.

Nematodes are microscopic worms who live in the soil and affect the roots of tomato plants to the point where proper absorption is reduced and plants are unable to take up enough moisture and nutrients. When the weather is hot this becomes especially apparent.

I once had a plant that wilted every time the sun came out. I had used old soil and it obviously contained nematodes and probably other diseases too from a previous season.

There are fungal diseases that have exactly the same effect that cause leaves to wilt by clogging-up a plant’s plumbing system – these are Fusarium and Verticillium Wilt.

Roma and Ferline F1 are both resistant to these two fungal diseases.

Unfortunately, plants affected by nematodes will not perform to their full potential and need feeding by regular foliar application.

There are friendly nematodes that attack the little critters that attack tomato plants. These aren’t the ones that eat into plant roots.

Using fresh, multi-purpose potting soil, including soil from grow bags. It is the best way to avoid any soil based problems and diseases.

2 Responses

  1. John Barrett
    | Reply

    I am told that French Marigolds planted in the greenhouse or in your pots will stop nematodes developing as the Marigold roots give off a substance that nematode dislike. However the Marigolds must be planted well before the tomatoes so that they have a chance to establish themselves.
    Last year I had plenty of Marigolds in both the greenhouse [ring culture used] and in outside pots. This year the pots will have new compost from our compost bin mixed with 25% sand and fish blood and bone but the greenhouse will only have new compost in the rings not the base soil. I will now find out if the Marigolds did their work last year.
    Regards John

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi John,
      Thanks for the helpful comment. Any tips on improving last season’s soil is very welcome.
      As I expect you know, some varieties are resistant to nematodes and an alternative is to use disease resistant rootstock and graft your own.
      Best wishes,
      Nick

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