What is curly top disease and how do you identify it?

Jun 21, 2024, 6:00 AM

tomatoes and curly top disease...

Curly top is the first tomato disease that tends to make an unwanted appearance. It comes up around mid- to late June, and it causes the leaves to curl up and turn yellow a few weeks after infecting it. (Canva)


SALT LAKE CITY — Are your tomatoes struggling this year? It may be because of a disease called curly top.

If you’re not sure, here are some tips on how to identify it from KSL Greenhouse Host Taun Beddes and guest Co-host Dave Mecham.

Identifying Common Tomato Problems…
35 minutes

Curly top is the first tomato disease that tends to make an unwanted appearance. It comes up around mid-to-late June, and it causes the leaves to curl up and turn yellow a few weeks after infecting it.

“This particular one is spread by what’s called beet leafhopper, which is a pest of many plants… The entire plant yellows out over a period of several weeks and eventually dies,” Taun said.

It is so common that 60-70% of the time people ask Taun why their tomatoes look unusual, it’s typically because of the curly top disease.

Dave thinks part of the reason has to do with the drastic change in weather. It’s hard for tomatoes to do well if the temperatures go from the 70s to the 100s overnight.

“If they were planted late and didn’t have two or three weeks to get established during cool weather, it can really stump their progress,” Taun said.

Once you know your tomato has some kind of disease, there is only one solution. Dig them out and dispose of them so that the disease doesn’t spread to other plants.

The KSL Greenhouse is on every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. You can follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and on our website.

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What is curly top disease and how do you identify it?