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Does it hurt to cover baby leaves when planting tomatoes
Alina W

You should only plant up to seed leaves when potting on tomatoes, or most plants, for that matter.

However, tomatoes can put out extra roots from the stem, so other folk may well tell you that you'll be OK.

John Reynolds wrote (see)
Does it hurt to cover baby leaves when planting tomatoes

You don't cover them but pinch them off before planting.

The rule of thumb with toms is to plant deeply. All of the plant's stem that is buried will turn into root structure. By planting out time, the first true leaves will be forming a canopy, and second and even third sets of leaves will have developed (or be developing) on mini-branches beneath them.

Nip off the cotyledons - if they haven't already fallen off - then also nip off any other mini-branches carrying second and even third sets of leaves, leaving only the canopy of first true leaves. Then plant deeply, right down to the canopy, so only the canopy is showing above the soil. Don't worry about losing the second and even third sets of leaves. The buried bare stem will quickily become root structure and the plant will grow like the clappers.

Thanks, will be planting up tomorrow in greenhouse!.

I have just pulled up the last of my tomato plants, heavy with fruit but again, for the third year running, plagued with blight. It is so depressing. Before all this I grew wonderful tomatoes each year which yielded so much fruit that I had to preserve them in olive oil for the winter. I don't know what I am doing wrong. This year I tried them in a greenhouse for the first time but the same thing happened again. I grow them in growbags so it is not to do with using infected pots. Does anyone have any suggestions?



If the problem was fungal, it had nothing to do with infected pots. Some bacterial and viral diseases can be transferred via previously infected soil and pots.

Can you post a photo? It would be interesting to see what the problem actually was.

Fungal disease is the most common ailment in the home tomato garden. You can't avoid fungal spores. They're airborne, invisible to the naked eye, and they're everywhere. Unless you spray preventively, there's nothing much you can do except undertake some basic housekeeping drills to try to minimise their impact.

Avoid wetting any foliage. Damp foliage is heaven for a fungal spore. Still air and clumps of foliage fall into the same category. Try to maximise air circulation by (1) keeping individual plants at least a metre apart, in fact as far apart as your growing space allows; (2) judiciously trimming foliage on individual plants to avoid walls of clumps of leaves; (3) remove the lowest branches of individual plants to maintain a gap of at least a foot between the lowest foilage and the soil. Fungal spores can and will fall from the leaves to the soil underneath and can splash back up again when watering. The gap between the lowest foliage and the soil helps against this.

In fact, you probably have more chance of dealing with disease outdoors than in a greenhouse. You need very very good ventilation to overcome the fact that the closed environment can be an incubator for disease.

Not having much luck with my tomatoes this year. When it got wet in early summer, I noticed my bush Roma plants were looking unhealthy, leaves starting to develop brown, yellow patches, holes etc. I did some pruning to get the leaves away from the soil, suspecting blight, and they did start to improve - I suspect thanks to the hot spell.

Now the weather's been more changeable, they've worsened (again I've got rid of affected branches) and more worryingly, a lot of the green fruit have got distinctive black 'holes' on them. A few flowers and their stems have also withered and gone brown.

Looking around, seems pretty clear this is bacterial spot, not blight. I've tried using a baking soda spray but suspect I'm too late. I'm wondering about spraying with Bayer Fruit and Veg fungus stuff too?

I've got 3 Roma bushes and then 10 assorted vines, which are healthier... But similar symptoms are now starting to develop.

Any thoughts/help greatly appreciated! Should I give up on the Roma bushes? They're pretty heavy with full size green fruit, and fresh growth is still coming. If I get some of the Bayer stuff, could that turn them, or at least the vines around?

Are they "black holes" or sunken black patches at the blossom end? On the bottom of the tomato? If so, it's probably Blossom End Rot. Here's what it typically looks like:

The plum-type varieties like Roma are extremely susceptible to it. No one knows why. I've had Roma plants plagued by BER growing right alongside beefsteak varieties - identical soil, identical watering, etc - that haven't shown the slightest sign of BER.

If that's not what you've got, can you post a photo?

Whether you've got a fungal or bacterial problem, spraying now isn't going to help the already-infected foliage. If you have unaffected foliage, spraying will help against infection. That Bayer product seems to be copper-based, one of the traditional anti-fungal ingredients. Spraying doesn't kill the spores. Effectively you're coating the leaves to put a barrier between the spores and the leaf surface, stopping the spores getting a grip. So you have to spray every leaf and on both sides. Spray about once a week, re-spraying if it rains.

As I said, Romas can present their own challenges, but I wouldn't give up on the plants by any means. They sound like they're in pretty good shape despite the problems and worth fighting for.

Am pretty sure it's not blossom end rot - these spots are generally on the sides of the fruit for starters. Not the best photo but hopefully this gives you an idea.

Thanks for your advice!



No, definitely not BER. The photo isn't terribly clear but you've probably had insect visitors. Have a good look around the foliage - both sides - at night with a torch.

 ok, here's a photo that shows it better i think. you can see the big fruit towards the bottom right has one of these sunken spots on it, white in the middle but with a raised black border.

i described it as a 'hole' but it doesn't look as if anything's gone in it! but maybe it has...

most of the fruits on the romas have got at least one of these spots on, some have got several where they're smaller but the spots look more speckly.

you might be able to see that some of the leaves have got holes in, look quite 'papery,' and/or have yellow/brown patches too. i've cut away most branches which have been badly affected though.



It doesn't really look like blight.  It looks as though the fruits would go on developing despite the blemishes,


There's evidence of fungal infection on a couple of the leaves but it's not bad. You've already removed the more affected foliage so you're winning at this stage.

Some toms develop blemishes, a physiological thing. But I still think some sort of critter has been at work. It's certainly not a caterpillar, they leave holes you can stick your finger into. The black edge amounts to a bit of infection. At worst you'll probably have to slice out that little bit of fruit after harvest. If you have enough fruit to spare, and you're curious, you could sacrifice one of the toms, cut it open and see exactly what's inside if anything.

But, on the bright side, you don't have Blossom End Rot, the curse of those sorts of varieties!

ok, brilliant, thanks for the advice. i guess i just continue using baking soda spray / pruning infected branches? i'm in the se and it sounds like dryer weather could be coming which hopefully will help...

first time on this forum so really appreciate the help. i've also got a different problem with some of my Black Russians - some of the flowers have bloomed, shrivelled, and died - without bearing fruit. i'm less worried about them than the romas as they look like healthier plants but would be interested to see if anyone's got ideas.


I wouldn't bother with baking soda. It's been claimed to work as a fungicide but the evidence is anecdotal at best. There's no scientific basis for it. If you're going to spray, use that Bayer product, spraying every leaf and on both sides. Otherwise just remove the affected foliage. You just have to be careful not to denude the plant. It needs foliage for photosynthesis.

Flowers will shrivel and die if they're not pollinated. It's normal. In extremely hot weather, as I have at the moment, they don't even get to get to bloom. They just frizzle up and die.



hah, ok, wasn't sure about the baking soda thing anyway.

interesting re the flowers. i did wonder about non-pollination but wasn't sure as have never seen that happen before (but had read about it). it doesn't sound like any fungi / bacteria would specifically attack the flowers in this way so makes sense to me...


Toms are self-pollinating but you can always give them a help along by brushing the flowers with your hand or giving them a flick at the back with your fingers. A friend of mine used to use an electric toothbrush. By disturbing the pollen inside you increase the chances of it hitting the right spot.

Bacterial Spot will attack tom flowers but the major cause of flower failure is lack of pollination. Temps too high or too low or too much humidity can all impact.


a old make up brush is perfect for pollonating yoru plants if the insects are not hard working and lazy in your garden lol

Gah, I just saw a squirrel rummaging around one of my tom plants this morning. And we have loads of squirrels in our garden! Are they likely to cause any damage / problems?


If they try a tomato, they'll more than likely enjoy your crop before you get a chance to. I used to have the problem when I lived in Sydney. If it becomes a problem, the simplest solution is to protect the plants with squirrel-proof cages.