Brown Stem on Tomato

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MissS
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#21

Post: # 22081Unread post MissS
Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:05 pm

I second the use of the micorrhyzae. I use MycoGrow. It works and is affordable.

I'm glad that you still have a Rebel Yell to try.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#22

Post: # 22146Unread post Paulf
Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:22 pm

brownrexx: nope, that is a new one for me. After seeing the post I went to check and not happening here.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#23

Post: # 22158Unread post brownrexx
Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:21 pm

Thanks @Paulf I really did not think that it was caused by the straw. I believe that it is the damping off fungus which lives in the soil. We had cold, wet and very windy weather in May and I truly believe that the waving back and forth in the wind caused small injuries in the stems and the fungus invaded since it had perfect cool and wet conditions.

I cut off several more plants tonight and put them in water. They would have been dead in another day or two. When I cut the brown part of the stems open, they were totally dead and hollow.

I had 2 Big Beef where the stems were brown but not totally shrunken so I piled some soil above the brown part of the stem in the hopes that they will grow new roots from the green part of the stem. I was able to find some decent sized Big Beef seedlings today at Lowes so I bought them for the ridiculous price of $3.48 each. I will plant them tomorrow in case my plants don't make it.


Out of 17 tomato plants, I lost 8 of them to damping off. I have 7 of those in water rooting now. They 8th one was a Cherokee Purple and it was a goner before I got the idea to cut the plants off and root them in water.
Good news is that the ones I cut off 2 days ago are already growing roots. I don't know if they will survive but it's worth a shot since I have no back up plants.

I bought new pepper plants today and here is a pic of a California Wonder that I pulled.


ImagePepper damping off by Brownrexx, on Flickr
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#24

Post: # 22170Unread post Growing Coastal
Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:47 pm

What an awful lot of trouble! Sorry you are having a mess like that to deal with this year.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#25

Post: # 22178Unread post brownrexx
Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:17 pm

Thanks @Growing Coastal I think that it's the worst gardening year that I have ever had. I never have trouble like this with my tomatoes or peppers and this is very discouraging. I usually get some Early Blight and maybe some aphids but never anything like this that actually kills the young plants before they get a change to produce anything. They were all covered with flowers and some tiny fruits. I had Late Blight one year that killed most of my tomatoes but it was late in the season so not a huge loss.

I am just glad to know what has caused this problem so that hopefully I can avoid it in the future.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#26

Post: # 22183Unread post zeuspaul
Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:18 pm

I have a similar problem with my young tomato plants (3-4 inches). I place them outside every day and it is windy. Once they exceed 2 inches they are affected by the wind and often fall over. Once they fall over I can rarely restore them. I cut them off and root in water. I takes about a week for them to root. I have never had one root in 2 days. Once they do start to root they grow the roots very quickly.
brownrexx wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:21 pm
Thanks @Paulf I really did not think that it was caused by the straw. I believe that it is the damping off fungus which lives in the soil. We had cold, wet and very windy weather in May and I truly believe that the waving back and forth in the wind caused small injuries in the stems and the fungus invaded since it had perfect cool and wet conditions.

I cut off several more plants tonight and put them in water. They would have been dead in another day or two. When I cut the brown part of the stems open, they were totally dead and hollow.

I had 2 Big Beef where the stems were brown but not totally shrunken so I piled some soil above the brown part of the stem in the hopes that they will grow new roots from the green part of the stem. I was able to find some decent sized Big Beef seedlings today at Lowes so I bought them for the ridiculous price of $3.48 each. I will plant them tomorrow in case my plants don't make it.


Out of 17 tomato plants, I lost 8 of them to damping off. I have 7 of those in water rooting now. They 8th one was a Cherokee Purple and it was a goner before I got the idea to cut the plants off and root them in water.
Good news is that the ones I cut off 2 days ago are already growing roots. I don't know if they will survive but it's worth a shot since I have no back up plants.

I bought new pepper plants today and here is a pic of a California Wonder that I pulled.


ImagePepper damping off by Brownrexx, on Flickr
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#27

Post: # 22887Unread post brownrexx
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:02 am

@rxkeith I saw your posting about brown stems on T-Ville. Do your stems look like the ones in my photos?
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#28

Post: # 23532Unread post MissS
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:06 pm

I was tossing the plants that I started that did not find homes this year and I found one that had a stem like this. One out of eight that were homeless. I started 300 and this was the only one that I noticed. The plant looked fine otherwise. It appeared strong and healthy. Just the outer layer of the stem appeared to be damaged and then healed over. It was not as pinched and thin as that in the above photo.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#29

Post: # 23559Unread post brownrexx
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:58 am

@MissS I think that I saved my affected Rebel Yell! I had 2 plants and only one was affected by the brown stem but I hated to lose it since I was so anxious to try this variety this year.

I cut off all of the plants with the brown stems and put them in water. After about a week the leaves were looking wilted and there were a few roots on all of them so I thought that it was time to get them back into the garden. I used the same holes that they were in originally but I added some potting soil to the holes to make it softer for new roots to grow into.

So far every single plant has perked up and appears to be growing. I planted them back into the same holes thinking that if there really was a disease in the soil that I would see them become infected but so far so good and no stems are turning brown.

I really do think that it was damping off and I also think that it was able to get into the stems because I cut off the cotyledons and lower branches before planting so that I could plant them deep. I think that I caused my own problem by planting stems with open wounds and our weather was cooler than usual which favors damping off fungus which lives in the soil naturally.

The 2 new Big Beef plants that I purchased and planted while the others were rooting look healthy and fine. I did not plant them deeper than they were in their original pots.

I will update this with my results as the season progresses.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#30

Post: # 23600Unread post MissS
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:51 pm

@brownrexx I am so glad to hear that your Rebel Yell's have made it through. This year I am growing out all of my favorites and Rebel Yell is in the mix. I am interested to see which tomatoes come out on top this year as I have never grown my favorites side by side before.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#31

Post: # 23642Unread post Gardadore
Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:32 am

Surprised I didn’t see this thread sooner since I have faced this problem for the last two summers. Last summer I noticed some of my mature seedlings in my tabletop tent were wilting. When I pulled them out of the containers the stem was thin and hollow at the soil line. At first I thought there was no hope so discarded the first two. When it continued to happen to more daily I decided to cut off the top and replant in the pots adding some fresh mix. All started to perk up and form roots within two days. This happened to 10 plants which went on to grow and produce.
I grow mainly in straw bales but none of this happened in the bales. Most of these were replanted in the ground because my bales were full by the time these had recovered enough to be planted. No seedling in the bales had this problem. I attributed it to possible overwatering but can’t be sure.
So this year I knew what to do if I faced the problem again. All seedlings in pots were fine but some got unusually tall due to our crazy spring which delayed transplanting. So by the time I did transplant into the bales I had to dig deep holes and angle them forcing me to bend the stems gently to get them to fit.
I lost two within a week to wilting and in checking the stems both were weak and hollow. I do believe that I may have injured the stems in planting. I cut them off and repotted. Last evening, three weeks later, I replanted both of them, now having a good new root mass, in straw bales again. A third tomato In a bale suffered the same thing about a week ago but I didn’t cut the stem high enough so it didn’t form new roots. Yesterday I cut it higher at a healthier tissue line but I think it’s too late. Nevertheless it is repotted with great hope.
So the upshot of all this is that the straw bale is a questionable cause for me since I have been strawbale gardening for at least 10 years and never faced this issue before. I can see that a weakened or damaged stem would be prone to damping off in the bale like my 3. But my problem last year first started in the pots with mature seedlings and all recovered in the same potting mix. So disease in the mix could not have been the culprit when all the “rootless Wonders” ( I called them) recovered in the old potting mix.
I will never know the causes for sure but now no longer panic when it happens since they start to form new roots in two days and go on to become good plants.

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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#32

Post: # 23646Unread post Ginger2778
Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:55 am

Gardadore wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:32 am
Surprised I didn’t see this thread sooner since I have faced this problem for the last two summers. Last summer I noticed some of my mature seedlings in my tabletop tent were wilting. When I pulled them out of the containers the stem was thin and hollow at the soil line. At first I thought there was no hope so discarded the first two. When it continued to happen to more daily I decided to cut off the top and replant in the pots adding some fresh mix. All started to perk up and form roots within two days. This happened to 10 plants which went on to grow and produce.
I grow mainly in straw bales but none of this happened in the bales. Most of these were replanted in the ground because my bales were full by the time these had recovered enough to be planted. No seedling in the bales had this problem. I attributed it to possible overwatering but can’t be sure.
So this year I knew what to do if I faced the problem again. All seedlings in pots were fine but some got unusually tall due to our crazy spring which delayed transplanting. So by the time I did transplant into the bales I had to dig deep holes and angle them forcing me to bend the stems gently to get them to fit.
I lost two within a week to wilting and in checking the stems both were weak and hollow. I do believe that I may have injured the stems in planting. I cut them off and repotted. Last evening, three weeks later, I replanted both of them, now having a good new root mass, in straw bales again. A third tomato In a bale suffered the same thing about a week ago but I didn’t cut the stem high enough so it didn’t form new roots. Yesterday I cut it higher at a healthier tissue line but I think it’s too late. Nevertheless it is repotted with great hope.
So the upshot of all this is that the straw bale is a questionable cause for me since I have been strawbale gardening for at least 10 years and never faced this issue before. I can see that a weakened or damaged stem would be prone to damping off in the bale like my 3. But my problem last year first started in the pots with mature seedlings and all recovered in the same potting mix. So disease in the mix could not have been the culprit when all the “rootless Wonders” ( I called them) recovered in the old potting mix.
I will never know the causes for sure but now no longer panic when it happens since they start to form new roots in two days and go on to become good plants.
So interesting. I think it's a combination of injury, along with some cold and wet. It's wonderful that you are smart enough to know the work around.
- Marsha

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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#33

Post: # 23688Unread post Gardadore
Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:52 am

Just an accident, Marsha, out of pure frustration! I had read about people cloning new tomatoes from old by cutting new growth stems and rooting them! So figured I had nothing to lose and turned out to be a good solution and less stress about the potential loss! Lots of good ideas on TV and here (now here)!
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#34

Post: # 23691Unread post brownrexx
Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:08 pm

I also thought that I had nothing to lose when I cut my plants off above the brown area. I have been amazed at how resilient that these plants must be. Every single one of them survived and is growing, even the ones that I poked into soil with only 2-3 short roots. Amazing.

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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#35

Post: # 23761Unread post pepperhead212
Sat Jun 27, 2020 11:16 pm

@brownrexx Glad to hear the plants survived! Will be later, but at least they came back.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#36

Post: # 23762Unread post JRinPA
Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:59 am

Looks like incomplete damping off to me. There were a LOT of cold nights well into June. Plants were too cold to sink their roots like they should. Every time it rained, the wind howled the next day. I think you are right, the wind may well have weakened them, maybe cut them a bit, enough for the increased pythium ( D O fungi) activity/bloom to really hurt them. My tomatoes did NOT take off for me like they usually do when I put them in the ground. I had a couple fall over after weeks in the ground, and another was pulled looking like your pic. Call it 3 of 80 lost. I think I planted May 15 or so, after it looked like it might warm up. Nope. My starts were only from April 24, I think. It was windy for days after planting, and didn't warm up for a long time. I have to call it an impulse planting, this year.

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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#37

Post: # 23764Unread post arnorrian
Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:29 am

MsCowpea wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:38 am
I noticed when ‘ arnorrian’ posted his/her wonderful garden pics that straw mulch was used and I thought to myself - wonder why I have such problems if I don’t keep it away from the stem and others do not. Maybe it is just a perfect storm of several conditions (like the damping off pathogens Marsha mentions) that make it a problem
or not a problem.
I try to keep the straw off the stems. Another factor is that I spray with fungicide that is effective in giving resistance to Pythium and Phytophthora oomycete algae that mainly cause damping off.

And "his". ;)
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#38

Post: # 23778Unread post brownrexx
Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:17 am

I am glad that you concur @JRinPA . This is the most terrible situation I have had with tomato plants since that time about 6 years ago when Late Blight wiped them all out in a matter of days.

I planted mine on May 14 and I thought that the soil was fairly warm but the wind was terrible starting right after I planted and my plants were not staked so they got beat around pretty bad. I have also decided to quit cutting off branches and planting deeper from now on.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#39

Post: # 23785Unread post Gardadore
Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:34 am

Forgot about the wind! That was a problem here too. Didn’t plant out until Memorial Weekend. All plants were staked because they had gotten so tall. Probably would have lost many more if I hadn’t waited or staked. All in all feel pretty lucky with my good results despite the terrible spring weather.
Planting deep and trimming off lower branches assures a really good root system so I highly recommend continuing that. I will start new ones next year a week or 10 days later so plants don’t get so tall and hard to handle.
When I pulled my third one the root system was amazing. Worth risking losing one or two plants out of 50. Rest of the tomato plants are best I have ever had so far. Can’t imagine how I will reach them by August since most are quite large now!
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#40

Post: # 23787Unread post brownrexx
Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:50 am

@Gardadore I always thought that planting deeper was good too but now that I am thinking about it, cutting off the branches and cotyledons and the putting a stem with open wounds into the soil does not seen like a very good idea and gives pathogens an easy entrance into the stem. I would recommend cutting off the branches a day ahead and letting the wounds scab over before planting if you like that idea.

A poster on T-Ville used to always cut off branches before planting deep and one year he ran out of time and just planted one whole raised bed with plants that were not planted deeper. He didn't lose any of those and he lost 1/3 of the plants that were trimmed and then planted deeper.

I have been surprised at how many people have noticed this problem but I have never seen any discussion about it. I never encountered it until last year and then I only lost one plant out of 17 or 18. I think that I must have been exceedingly lucky in the past.
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