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How to save a tomato plant with browning leaves

Cherry tomato plant with tomatoes, drying leaves.

(Photo: Flickr/Emilian Robert Vicol)

How to save a tomato plant with browning leaves

September 07, 2012

Q: I think I have over-fed my tomato plant with too much nitrogen. The leaves are browning and falling off. What can I do to reverse this?

A: I never use chemical fertilizer for that reason, you never get that kind of problems with organic matter. A good trick to get just enough nitrogen is to plant clovers, beans, or peas with them as they fix nitrogen in the soil. Or simply alternate the position in the garden between beans and tomatoes at each year.

If they are in a container that can evacuate the water by the bottom, then water may dissolve it enough over time, the problem is that too much watering will turn the leaves yellow so you better try it in one massive try. Alternatively you can apply a bit of lime and then water at the same time.

If you just started them, you may restart all over as the small plant may regrow faster than it would take for the plant to become healthy again. If they are already big, you may use a shovel and remove them with enough roots. Remove soil around the roots and then plant them in fresh soil (removing the lower leaves and putting that new section of the plan in the soil so that it can regrow fresh root faster from that section).

-- Answer from Martin Caron, home and garden expert on JustAnswer.

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