Because of the sugar beet industry in the Big Horn Basin, BCTV infection is quite common in garden tomato plants. The severity of the disease will depend somewhat on the age and type of plant, and the strain of the virus. Plants infected in the seedling stage will typically die. Plants infected later will usually survive but are stunted and turn yellow. Infected leaves of tomatoes and peppers will stiffen and curl upwards as the petioles curl down, turning yellow with purplish veins. Typically, yield is reduced, and the fruit ripens prematurely (it is not uncommon to see infected and healthy fruit on the same stem).
For photos of several different species infected with BCTV click here.
- Use virus-free transplants.
- Immediately remove any infected plants.
- Plant susceptible hosts (ie. tomatoes, pepper, beans) in slightly shaded areas (leafhoppers prefer sunny areas).
- Use fine netting or floating row covers to protect plants from leafhoppers.
- When available, use plant varieties that are resistant to BCTV (see USU Bulletin below).
- Use a "double planting" method in which twice the normal planting rate for a given area is used, with the assumption that some of the plants will die and can be removed.
- BCTV Control in Commercial Tomatoes - Colorado State University Extension
- BCTV Biology, Transmission, Ecology, and Management - WAAESD
- Curly Top Virus - New Mexico State University Extension
- Curly Top of Tomato - Utah State University Extension
More blog posts on Tomatoes.