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Possible Causes For Twisted, Curled Vegetable Leaves

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Dr. Mario Villarino, Texas AgriLife Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hopkins County Agent, [email protected].

If the leaves on your vegetable plants are twisted or curled, the problem could be environmental, chemical, or biological.

Sometimes, all the leaves on a plant are twisted or curled; sometimes only new growth has symptoms while older leaves are normal. Damage may start moderately then quickly begin to affect new growth. Damage to tomato and other vegetable plants may have one or a combination of causes.

There are five primary reasons that tomato leaves twist:

  1. Wind damage
  2. Herbicide drift
  3. Herbicide residue
  4. Broad mite
  5. Tomato viruses

Vegetables can be damaged by herbicides left in mulch or compost made with hay or manure from fields that have been sprayed with herbicides. The active ingredient aminopyralid can persists for 18 months on treated hay and hay products. It also persists in the manure of animals that eat herbicide-treated hay. These herbicides products are commonly used in pastures because they kill about 100 difficult broadleaf weeds.

Some herbicide labels state that any plant matter collected from fields sprayed with aminopyralid may not be used in compost or where vegetables are to be grown. The label also states that the “applicator must provide the land manager with a copy of instructions regarding uses of forage from areas treated with aminopyralid.”

Anyone who sells hay, silage, haylage, green chop, or bedding material that was treated with aminopyralid, is responsible for alerting the buyer that it was treated and must not to be used in composting or where vegetables are grown. Buyers must also ask whether aminopyralid was used on the source forage within the last 18 months.

For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected].

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Author: Faith Huffman

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