Tomato stems

(Question)

I’m new to vegetable gardening and I’ve planted some tomato plants in pots in the backyard in full sun. I’ve grown them from seeds that I saved from heirloom tomatoes from last year. The soil is new potting soil mixed with sheep’s manure.

One of my varieties of tomato plant has this weird white hairless area on the stem. It almost looks like something has rubbed the hairs off that area of the plant, but all of this variety have it (about 8 plants in total, but none of the other varieties are affected) and nothing would have done that. The tomato I chose to plant in the pot was the largest of that variety, but it has this white stem quite badly (which I’ve attached as a photo to this message). What do you think the issue is? If it’s harmless, I will leave it, but I thought it best to ask.

I’m realizing that another smaller plant of the same variety doesn’t have that same white mark on the stem as badly (it’s mostly a couple small spots, but nothing nearly as extensive), so I’m thinking I should rip the one out of the pot and replace it with this other one. Do you agree?

(Answer)

You are very ambitious, and I noticed you companion planted with marigold too! Tomatoes, particularly the older varieties that are not resistant to many of the diseases that tomatoes can get, will often stymy the best grower. I have tried to find what may have caused your tomato stem issue, and not be able to find anything exactly like it.

Many of the newer varieties of tomatoes are resistant to the following, and you can find the codes on the packages:  V = Verticillium Wilt, F = Fusarium Wilt, N = Nematodes, A = Alternaria, T = Tobacco Mosaic Virus, St = Stemphylium (Gray Leaf Spot), and TSWV = Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. None of these seem to be your problem.

This site can give you more information about tomatoes and what to with them, what they get in terms of disease, how to plant them, and more.

http://www.tomatodirt.com/tomato-diseases.html

It may be that something has rubbed against it, or an accidental stripping of the stem. Either way, without the green to transport nutrients and water, the plant will die. I think your first thought is correct; pull it out. And just to be sure, pull the other out with the smaller spots – I wouldn’t take any chances. Do not plant any other tomato in that spot, as if it is a disease, it can be transferred to the other tomatoes.Do not compost, destroy the plant instead to prevent any possible spreading. Clean your trowel and gloves if you use them, with a 10 to 1 water to chlorine solution.