The hydroponic growing process is designed to produce quality fruits and vegetables with a reduced potential of disease and infection. Tomatoes are ideal selections for hydroponic growing. The constant overall demand for tomatoes allows commercial growers to easily recoup the costs of hydroponic equipment and labor. However, hydroponic tomatoes are susceptible to several diseases.
Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease that infects the tomato plant through its root system. This fungal disease interferes with the transport of water and nutrients through the vessels of the tomato plant. As this interference occurs, the plant begins to display yellowing, wilting, drooping and collapse of foliage and flowers. Infected tomato plants are usually stunted and infection can be fatal. Fusarium wilt can remain in the soil and run rampant throughout the crop for as long as six years. Elimination of the disease demands for the removal of all infected plants and complete sanitation of all hydroponic equipment, especially when using the liquid hydroponic process.
Bacterial canker is a destructive disease that attacks tomatoes at all stages. While some young seedlings will die quickly, other infected tomato plants will grow. These infected plants will produce weak foliage and stems that will wilt and yellow. Older, more mature plants will show infection symptoms that include necrotic lesions on foliage that have small white spots. Infected tomatoes will also show water-soaked foliage, open cankers, stem splitting and vascular discoloration. Infected plants should be immediately discarded. The planting area and hydroponic equipped should be sterilized. Copper sprays can be used to protect healthy tomato plants from infection.
Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl
Tomato yellow leaf curl is a recently discovered virus that can be very damaging to tomato crops. Though the tomato plant is not extremely disfigured by the disease, the severe growth stunt can have fatal results. Infected tomato plants will display curled and slightly yellowed foliage. Vascular yellowing and crumpling will also occur while the plant begins to take on a stunt, bushy appearance. Flowers will fail to develop and defoliate. No cure exists for tomato yellow leaf curl. Infected tomato plants should be discarded immediately. The planting area and hydroponic equipment should be sterilized before replanting.