Many of you are asking when can you take your row covers off your tomato plants. Leave row covers on tomatoes for now-I know we are all anxious to take them off. I leave mine on till the monsoons come and they are NOT here yet. One of our local weather stations said that the monsoons might be delayed till July 25 and so I will leave mine on till the monsoons really come-this occasional rain we’ve been getting are not the monsoons and will not drive the leafhopper away. The leafhopper kills tomato plants by biting your plant giving it (CTV) Curly top virus which is fatal to your tomato plant but should leave when the monsoons come. The row covers are a physical barrier so the bug can’t get to your plant. So for now, (sigh) I will leave them on even though I’m dying to remove them like you.
I will post when I take mine off so you all know.
I’ve noticed a few of my tomato plants have got curled leaves, lost their bright green color and their veins turn purple and I’ve got several friends with the same problem who have contacted me about what this might be. I’m pretty sure its Curly Top Virus transmitted from the beet leafhopper which has been really prevalent this season. This is not to be confused with leaf roll where the tomato leaves roll. I think the combo of leaf roll and purple veins is the key. Read on.
Here is some info on Recognizing Tomato Problems from Colorado State University website. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/02949.html
‘Curly top virus is transmitted by the beet leafhopper. This problem is common in western Colorado but seldom found in eastern Colorado. Infected plants turn yellow and stop growing. Upper leaflets roll and develop a purplish color, especially along the veins. Leaves and stems become stiff; fruit ripens prematurely. It is difficult to control because leafhoppers migrate from southern areas. Hot, dry springs with predominantly southwest winds usually indicate increased problems with this disease. No chemical controls are effective. Use row covers to protect tomato plants from the leafhopper.’ Of course this is for Colorado but applies here as well.
Unfortunately after tomatoes get the virus, you should pull the plants. I’m concerned that a leafhopper might bite an infected plant and then bite a healthy plant and infecting it. So far 4-5 of my plants have this. I’m pulling them tomorrow..