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Monday, June 25, 2012

Tomato Leaf Burn: Baking Soda and Wettable Sulphur Sprays FYI

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This is an FYI entry with a video. I effectively attempted to defoliate my tomatoes by spraying them with baking soda spray. Hmmm...

My original preventative spray was 2 tablespoons of baking soda per 1 gallon of water. It worked well for April and May and the early part of June. I didn't have any signs of leaf spot which attacked many of plants last year beginning in May.

Last week I sprayed heavily on a Tuesday evening with the anticipation of high humidity on Wednesday and Thursday. Within 24 hours, tomato leaf burn started showing up on my tomatoes. Different varieties were effected differently. The culprit was the baking soda and a temperature over 90 degrees. Those day reached 100 degrees. High heat and 2 tablespoons of baking soda per gallon will burn plant leaves.

I recommend cutting the spray mixture to 1 tablespoon per gallon and as always test spray some leaves first. Burn will show up with 24-48 hours. DO NOT spray this mixture and most sprays in direct sun or high heat. I figured I would help save others my  mistake and I shot this video showing the tomato leaf burn.

Good news is... all the plants are recovering fine. I have also been reading that tomatoes prefer more acidity (thus tolerate a more acidic spray better) and because of that I think I am going to start spraying them with wettable sulfur at 1 tablespoon per gallon. Baking soda is alkaline. I might have an early season strategy and a mid season strategy for spraying. Anyway... I hope to not see leaf spot and early blight in my garden. So far so good.



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