Leaf Mold in Tomatoes

Leaf mold is a fungus that causes yellow or green spots on leaves. Although it is mostly a problem in greenhouses, it can also appear in the field.

It mostly affects the leaves, impacting the overall health of the plant. But it can also affect the blossoms, stems, and fruit. Affected fruit symptoms are a black, leathery rot on the stem end.

How to Identify Leaf Mold

Tomato leaf mold
Paul Bachi, University of Kentucky
Research & Education Center,
Tomato leaf mold
Paul Bachi, University of Kentucky
Research & Education Center
  • Pale green or yellow spots on older leaves.
  • Affected leaves curl, wither, and drop from plant.
  • Affected fruit has a black, leathery rot on the stem end.


  • Caused by the fungus Fulvia fulva.
  • Fungal spores are spread by the wind, equipment, boots, or by splashing water.
  • Contaminated seed can carry the fungus.
  • Spores germinate under high humidity greater than 85%.
  • The pathogen survives on plant debris and in the soil.

Preventative Measures

  • Plant only disease-free certified seed.
  • Keep garden free of plant refuse and weeds.
  • Avoid wetting the leaves when possible by watering the base of the plant.
  • Sterilize production areas of greenhouses.
  • Plant resistant varieties (many are available).


Natural remedies

  • No biological control strategies have been discovered yet.

Chemical treatments

  • Fungicides control leaf mold, but should be used in combination with as many preventative methods as possible to be most effective.

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Credits for technical content

  1. High Plains IPM Guide, a cooperative effort of the University of Wyoming, University of Nebraska, Colorado State University and Montana State University.


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