Tomatoes, though a joy to eat, are not the easiest crop to grow. An Escambia County grower recently brought in a sample showing unusual patterns on the green fruit. When he cut the fruit open, he noticed discoloration on the inside. The issue was visually diagnosed as tomato spotted wilt virus. This problematic virus is transmitted from plant to plant by thrips (insects in the Order Thysanoptera.
This grower only has one plant showing symptoms in the fruit. Thus far, the leaves still look healthy, but a virus is systemic. Once a plant has a virus, there are no remedies. UF/ IFAS Extension agents generally recommend growers plant resistant varieties. The producer is growing two varieties: “Bella Rosa,” which is supposed to have resistance to fusarium wilt (races 1 and 2), tomato spotted wilt virus, and verticillium wilt, and “Amelia,” which is supposed to have resistance to fusarium wilt (races 1, 2, and 3), tomato spotted wilt virus, and verticillium wilt. Information on disease resistance of several popular varieties and yield comparison can be found in the Spring 2009 and 2010 Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Variety Trials.
Tomato spotted wilt virus is only one of many problems tomato growers can encounter. For a handy little electronic diagnostic key, check out this Florida Tomato Scouting Guide. If you can’t figure out what is plaguing your tomatoes, you can always contact your local county Extension agent.