One of the best gardening investments I’ve made lately is buying the Tomato MD app available through the American Phytopathological Society. Master gardeners need this app, especially those who answer gardener’s questions at the farmers’ market, by phone or online.
The reasonable $2.99 price is worth every penny if you’ve ever been stumped by the question, “What’s wrong with my tomato plant?”
I don’t know about you, but tomato-growing questions are my most frequently asked question. It’s also a question that I’ve asked myself many times. The CSU fact sheet on Recognizing Tomato Problems is a good resource, but it’s less comprehensive than the Tomato MD app.
Tomato MD is an interactive resource that works with either Apple or Android devices. It’s easy to use and can help you pinpoint just about any tomato problem using the menu of plant diseases and insect problems.
The beauty of this app is that it can be used anytime, anywhere because you don’t need the Internet to access its features. Once you download it to your phone or tablet, you can take it with you into the garden or the CSU Master Gardener’s booth at farmers’ markets or any gardening event.
The app is a great resource for master gardeners. Home gardeners, garden center staff and even professional growers can benefit from this tomato-growing tool, too.
When you’re asked about a tomato issue, the app lets you search in three different ways:
Alphabetical listing of diseases and insects
Images of the 35 most common problems that affect tomato plants
Disease or insect damage characteristics
I’ve found it’s helpful to start by clicking on the photo gallery. That’s where you can choose the affected part of the plant, from leaf to flower, fruit, stem and roots. Select the affected area and then thumb through the images to find a photo match.
Tomato MD covers problems like alternaria stem canker, bacterial spot, blossom end rot, drought stress injury, tomato spotted wilt, early blight, late blight and plenty more. The rogue’s gallery of insects and mites includes tomato hornworms, tomato fruitworms, stink bugs and many of the other harmful insect pests.
Once you’ve identified the problem, the app gives you a menu of options for symptoms, causes and sources, other plant hosts, imitators, control options and additional help with diagnosis.
Much of the content for the Tomato MD app is from the American Phytopathological Society’s research and its two massive and expensive volumes called Tomato Health Management ($89) and Compendium of Tomato Diseases and Pests ($99). I’ve wanted to add these books to my library, but the cost was prohibitive.
At $2.99 Tomato MD solves that tomato problem, too.
By Jodi Torpey, a Denver Master Gardener