Take the 2-minute tour ×
Gardening & Landscaping Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gardeners and landscapers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This question already has an answer here:

I have planted some tomatoes in my garden. The plants have started showing white lines as shown in the picture. Is this some disease? If yes, What kind of disease is this? Is it safe to eat tomatoes from this plant?

tomato plant

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by J. Musser, BYJ, Niall C. Aug 15 at 3:29

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

1  
J. Musser has a great answer below. I wanted to add, however, that the fruit on the affected plants is just fine to eat. –  TeresaMcgH Aug 14 at 21:54
    
@TeresaMcgH Good point, I forgot to add that. Fixed now... –  J. Musser Aug 14 at 22:08

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

That is leaf miner damage.

I usually don't have this pest, but I did before I went on strike against it. I pretty much did what was described below. To control the adults, I used neem oil.

The leaf miners do not affect the fruit quality unless the infestation is very bad. The tomatoes are entirely safe to eat.

I found some very good advice on prevention and control, from here:

  • Monitor plant leaves closely. At the first sign of tunneling, squeeze the leaf at the tunnel between two fingers to crush any larvae. Done soon enough, this killing larvae can allow plants to survive minor outbreaks. Pick off and destroy badly infested leaves in small gardens.
  • The more healthy the plant, the less chance that leafminers will hurt it. Maintain plant health with organic fertilizers and proper watering to allow plants to outgrow and tolerate pest damage. Keep your soil alive by using compost and other soil amendments.
  • Use floating row covers to prevent fly stage from laying eggs on leaves.
  • The parasitic wasp Diglyphus isaea is a commercially available beneficial insect that will kill leafminer larva in the mine. The wasp is especially beneficial to indoor growers of ornamentals and vegetables.
  • Use yellow sticky traps to catch egg laying adults. Cover soil under infested plants with plastic mulches to prevent larvae from reaching the ground and pupating.
  • Organic neem oil will break the pests’ life-cycle by preventing larva from reaching maturity. Neem oil may also have repellent qualities and interfere with egg laying activities.
  • Botanical insecticides can be used to knock down adult insects but have little effect on the protected larval stage feeding inside the leaf.
share|improve this answer
1  
+1 on the neem oil and the overall info. spot on. –  itsmatt Aug 14 at 22:12
    
@itsmatt Thank you. Yes, neem oil is one of my favorite 'cure-all's. –  J. Musser Aug 14 at 22:14
    
Just an observation; your plants are too close together. Plants, especially tomatoes, need circulating air. Fungus is very common with tomatoes and moving air is the most important way to reduce fungus diseases (powdery mildew you'll get to know soon). –  stormy Aug 15 at 1:15
    
J.Musser and @stromy, Thank you so much. stormy, I will move the plant containers to allow more room. –  Gardener Aug 20 at 15:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.