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-   -   Tomato leaves 'coiled up'? (http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1615)

widespreadpanic 05-17-2010 01:55 PM

Tomato leaves 'coiled up'?
I have several plants in my hydroponic ebb and flow system that have older leaves curling slightly upwards, and new growth rolling or spiraling together.

New growth spiraling/coiled up.


Leaves curling upwards, but no sign of yellowing or spots:


Plant seems stocky:


I am obviously worried that this is a disease/virus. I'm growing heirloom tomatoes such as Cherokee purple, Green Zebra, Brandywine, Black Krim, although pictured is a Better Boy hybrid.

Could it be that my watering schedule of every 2 hours during the day is too much?

My E.C. is 2.0, my P.h. stays around a 6, my nutrient solution is kept refrigerated at a constant 67 deg

joe.jr317 05-18-2010 09:49 AM

I don't believe you have a disease issue here. I think it is too much nutrient. I don't think your watering schedule is too often. Particularly if you reduce how much nutrient you have in the system.

Don't panic. Your tomatoes look great. Reduce the grow portion of your nutrient solution. Transition them to bloom. When I change my nutrient solution, I usually put the water in without nutes first. Then I run it for a few cycles. Then I check the EC. If the EC is high due to the amount of nutes left in the medium and lines, I replace the water. If it isn't too bad (less than .4) then I just add my nutes. That helps to avoid salt build up and stress. Also, if your EC is high after the "flush" with just water, that might indicate you have too high of nutrient concentration in the first place. Depends on how often you change nutrient solution, too.

willard3 05-21-2010 11:22 AM

Add nothing but water for a couple of weeks and the over fertilization problems will stop.

veggiemuffin 05-23-2010 07:52 PM

I had that exact problem
Mine used to do exactly that. I read about tomato leaf curl being cause by too much watering I thought WTF? My plant is growing in water so what do I do? But then I realized that too much water keeps the roots from getting oxygen so I tried putting an airstone in my nutrient solution. After about a week or so the leaves were completely normal and I hadn't done anything else. So in my case that was what fixed it. Hope you got your problem fixed by now.

Good luck.

widespreadpanic 05-24-2010 11:53 PM

Thanks for your tip Veggiemuffin!

I read online that ebb and flow systems using hydroton filled buckets didn't need an airstone b/c air is sucked back through the root area when the nutrient drains?

I switched the nutrients today and plan on letting it run 24 hours on rainwater only, before adding nutrients back in.

Question: Did your plants "uncoil" or did the coiling simply stop on new growth?

Thanks for your help.

veggiemuffin 05-25-2010 07:53 AM

They completely uncoiled. I really was surprised to see that happen since it was just a crackbrained idea that I tried out of desperation. It's possible that wasn't what caused the uncoiling but I didn't do anything else different so I don't know what else it might be. I'm a total newbie by the way. This is my first hydroponics grow. I really am growing tomatoes.

widespreadpanic 05-25-2010 12:35 PM

Where your leaves curled too?
Where your leaves, especially the older ones, curled up as well?
If so, did the airstone fix that problem too?
Thanks for your input.

veggiemuffin 05-25-2010 12:58 PM

Oh yeah. Old leaves were the worst. I was really worried and searching all over forums to find what to do. Although the plant seemed healthy otherwise so I wasn't sure how big a problem it was. Anyway, after putting in the airstone all leaves and stems straightened out (some stems had even curled around like ram's horns). I now have tomatoes all over the place - still green though. I just grew yellow pear tomatoes and Italian plum tomatoes this time.

widespreadpanic 05-25-2010 01:02 PM

How big was your reservoir
Sorry to ask so many questions, but I'm really excited to implement an air stone into my system now and I want to make sure I get the right product.

I have an ebb and flow bucket system filled with hydroton.

The Greene Tomato

My reservoir is 50 gallons, and I've been looking around the internet for an air pump/air stone and the options are overwhelming. I don't know whether to pay 60 bucks for a good one or if some of the cheaper ones will do the trick.

What exactly did you buy, and how big is your reservoir?

veggiemuffin 05-25-2010 01:11 PM

I have a 30 gal bin with 6 gallons of nutrient water in it. I just bought a small aquarium pump that said it worked for up to 10 gallon aquarium and I use one of those 12" long flexible air stones.

Hey, I like that link you posted. I'm thinking about doing the next batch of tomatoes in buckets outdoors. I'm going to look at that more thoroughly right after this post. Either buckets or PVC fence posts. I'm interested in both. Have a tiny yard so don't have enough room to do both.

veggiemuffin 05-25-2010 01:42 PM

I forgot this small factoid:

I'm using Raindrip misters on a manifold inside the bin to wet the roots. The curling didn't happen as long as they roots were just wetted by the misters. It started after the roots reached the water down below. I don't know if that was just conincidence or what. But it added to my feeling that the roots needed oxygen.

widespreadpanic 05-26-2010 02:22 PM

I talked to the Tech Guy at General Hydroponics
I called the tech support guy at GH yesterday to ask about an Air Pump system they had. We started discussing my issue, and he said with my ebb and flow system that I should not need their air pump.

He was positive that my problem was due to my nutrient level being too high.
I replaced/flushed my nutrients with rain water and cut back my T.D.S. to 1000 and this morning when I went outside, all of the "ram horns" had un-coiled?

Some of the leaves were still curled upwards, but them seem to be flattening out.

Do you think when your roots reached the water the started sucking up too much nutrient?

He told me again, as he had in the past, to monitor my readings and the plants will "tell" me what the need, rather it be more nutrients by a dropping T.D.S, or more water by a rising T.D.S.

He was adamant about finding the equilibrium of the plants needs and not just following nutrient recommendations blindly.

veggiemuffin 05-26-2010 04:35 PM

It's possible. I've got a lot to learn before I would have any confidence about what solved my problem. Although I didn't change the nutrient level during that time. I do need to start keeping records. I haven't done that at all for this (my first) build.

twunky 06-17-2010 07:23 PM

Looks like Im having the same problem - Tomato Leaf Curl
My plants look pretty much the same with the top leaf curl. Im new to this forum, so Im going to post a little bit about my system and setup. Im not trying to steal you thread, but rather extend it.

I have a Jubilee (I think) and a BrandyWine Tomato growing in one bucket. I established the root system very well before I transplanted them into the bucket system, so there should be enough root to expand, and the roots not get too crowded.

These picks are of the Jubilee Tomato.

Last week pics:

And some leaves:

I have 5 & 3.5 gallon dutch bucket drip system. I live in central Florida, so the temps have been reaching 105 degrees for long periods. Then some days the extreme heat will be followed by extreme storms and humidity.

On the "curling" plant that is pictured, this plant is currently flowering and it looks like a couple made it through and pollinated.

This weeks pics of curl and flowers:



I have a 26 gallon res. and I keep the Floramato nutrients at about 1.2-1.4. I have been using tap water. I run the nutrients @ 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm on variations of 1 and 2 min runs. (More in the afternoon heat) Im thinking my nutes are too low, because I read your blog that you where using 2EC and that was too high. (I havent checked the temp of the water, but its in the shade and as cool as I can get it.

I have an air pump, but I only run it for a few mins a day when I get home b/c it gets too hot for some reason. The pump is inside the house and is pumping cooler air into the res. I dont know why it gets hot b/c its brand new.

The nutrient runoff is recycled, but there is a constant 1.5'' of nutrients in every bucket. I have lifted the bottom bucket out of the top one to check the roots, and they havent yet reached this water.

I started them in rockwool 4'' x4'' cubes and transplanted them into a bucket with hydron rock (bottom 1'' layer) and perlite (top layer).

More on the Greenhouse Environment:
I built a outdoor hydroponic greenhouse - allowing some bugs and not 100% sealed. I built this out of an old carport and used one have of it for the greenhouse. I screened in the sides and put greenhouse poly film and 50% aluminet shade cloth over it with wiggle wire to hold it secure - but also easy to take off to clean. I also had to add the aluminet shade cloth to the sides because it was getting too hot. Compared to how hot it gets without the poly and shad cloth, its about a 10-15 degree difference.

I installed a misting system at the top of the greenhouse, but it is not yet functional. I need to buy a incremental hose timer to run for 30 secs, every 5 mins or so during the hours of 11am-6pm. Once I get this working, the temp should drop from 100 degrees to at least 90, hopefully to 80-85.

My guess so far has been then heat. Ive had little flower flower development, and the they looked stunned for a while. But Im getting more what looks like fruit development on a couple plants.

Let me know your thoughts....thanks!

twunky 06-26-2010 01:08 AM

In my case, I was having a nutrient problem. I was using Floramato and this is a little too high in N and not enough P.

I moved over to another nutrient for a couple days, things are looking much better and the uncoiling has begun :)

widespreadpanic 06-26-2010 01:48 AM

Just got an email from your response, sorry I didn't respond to your last post. I didn't see it until after your last post.

I too am using floramato. The potato leaf brandywine seems to be performing well with the floramato, but my others: beefsteak, green zebra, black krim have not done as well.

I'm wondering? What are you using now? Should I abandon the floramato? I have 15 pounds of the stuff, is there a way to supplement what I've got to get better results? What do you think?

my blog:
The Greene Tomato

twunky 06-26-2010 02:40 AM

I would consider getting a nutrient with a higher P and a lower N ratio, for flowering.

Although tomatoes grow and flower at the same time, it seems they should need both (Nitrogen & Phosphorus). But different varieties will do different things based on the nutrient content it seems. Im starting to learn that I cant make all my plants happy at the same time...ha.

P of course is the most important nutrient in fruit & flower development and Floramato's ratio isnt too high in P. But I do have my cucumbers doing pretty well and my patio tomato hybrid's doing pretty well also. Im just having flowers dropping on all my pepper plants and brandywine. The jubilee is setting fruit, but VERY slow to develop. I should have much more fruit and faster development than I have.

I tried a test with DynaBloom (liquid) for a couple days and noticed improvement, believe it or not. I just ran out of Floramato also, so I went to the hydroponic store today to purchase MaxiBloom (5-15-14). This is really my only other dry nutrient choice, so Im going to give this a shot.

Tomorrow Im going to flush my system and start watering with Maxibloom. I will report the results.

So you never know, Im going to try this and hopefully all my plants love me for it and give me mucho fruit. Worst case is you can give something else a shot for as little as 15$ and if it works, then you can always use your floramato for vegetative growth :)

Good luck!

Florida Outdoor Backyard Hydroponic Greenhouse

twunky 06-26-2010 02:45 AM

Im thinking that the high N is causing the leaves to grow, but the plant wants to flower, thus causing the twisting? . . . maybe...maybe not... who knows

The couple days of watering with higher P nutrients untwisted the leaves a little, and it looks like they may continue. Also straightened out the older leaves pretty much completely.

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