I planted various varities of tomatoes a couple months ago and they're all dieing. Based in Baghdad (Iraq), weather is 35 deg c midday, 25 deg c at night.

They were all healthy, started producing tomatoes. Now half the plants are dead, basically like they've dried up. I've tried to ID the problem but am unable to. I thought it might be tomato bacterial wilt but there's no oozing. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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  • It looks like maybe a virus to me. I don't know for sure, but I'd guess one of the mosaic viruses, or else tomato spotted wilt virus. Jun 2 '16 at 11:40
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    Other suggestions are plausible (and more likely) but I'd like to add one more to the mix. The soil around the plants looks very weed free except some lamb's quarter in the background. Any chance you sprayed the area with an herbicide to kill the weeds and some of the overspray hit the tomatoes? Jun 2 '16 at 15:40

There may be a viral involvement, but the obvious problems are periods of drought, extremes of temperature, possible sunscald, and the possibility that some creature has been 'grazing' the tomato fruits. The plant looks as if it's suffering from insufficient water, the fruits suggest infrequent and irregular water supplies (evidenced by the cracking and splits in the skin, caused by the fruit beginning to swell but the skin not keeping up). The patchy areas in the skin may be caused by something grazing, but the biggest problem does appear to be cultural.

Its important that tomatoes are given frequent, sufficient and regular water, particularly as the fruits start forming - irregular water supplies cause this typical cracking of the fruits. If the plant doesn't have sufficient foliage, or the foliage has withered or drooped, then the fruits are also more exposed to extremely hot sun, without the shading effect of leaves. Equally, extremes of temperature, particularly between day and night, can cause troubles - it may be useful to provide some shade for tomatoes where you are during the hottest part of the day.

More info in the link below, but some of the problems mentioned are localized to USA, particularly those regarding insect troubles - generally, though, it may be helpful for future growing of tomato crops


  • That bit of plastic looks like it might be drip irrigation line. But I'd want the ground heavily mulched as well. Jun 2 '16 at 17:35
  • agree, it might be irrigation line, but the plant's had insufficient water regardless
    – Bamboo
    Jun 2 '16 at 17:50
  • Hi @organiclawndiy I hate herbicides, all of the vegetables are completely organic. We have plentiful cucumbers, lettuce, aubergine, chillis, garlic, beetroot, potatoes, beans growing in the vegetable garden with no issues.
    – baghdad
    Jun 4 '16 at 9:09
  • @Bamboo There are irrigation lines on the top of the soil. The vegetables are watered early morning and then again early evening. We have loads of strawberries in the same area (since February and still going) as well as many other vegetables. Thank you for the link, will check it out. I want to add more photos but don't seem to be able to on this forum? Some of the tomato fruits seem to go pale on half the fruit which then turns mushy.
    – baghdad
    Jun 4 '16 at 9:16
  • @baghdad - what you describe in the last sentence sounds like sunscald damage.
    – Bamboo
    Jun 4 '16 at 10:53

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