Tomato Sunscald

You may experience problems with tomato sunscald if you're growing tomatoes in a sun-drenched region such as the southeastern U.S.

It's caused by sparse leaf cover on a tomato plant, which can occur when foliage is lost from disease. Fruits show light-gray scalded spots that can also become susceptible to fungal attack.

How to Identify Sunscald

Tomato sunscald
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Tomato sunscald
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
  • Fruit shows a yellow or whitish patch on the sun-exposed areas.
  • A blister-like area can develop on the sunscald spot.
  • The damage can progress to a more severely damaged grayish-white spot with a paperlike surface.
  • Secondary fruit rot pathogens can invade the damaged area.


  • Can occur if severe pruning has been done to the plant.
  • Disease has caused protective leaf cover to drop away.
  • Plants aren't supported vertically but sprawl on the ground where they are more exposed.

Preventative Measures

  • Maintain an adequate leaf canopy over fruit.
  • Don't prune plants with small amounts of foliage.
  • Plant heavy foliage varieties.
  • Stake or cage plants rather than letting them sprawl, because the fruits will get more foliage cover.


Natural remedies

  • Be conservative when pruning so as not to remove foliage protection from fruit.
  • Plant cultivars with good foliage cover.

Chemical treatments

  • If fungal diseases are causing loss of foliage, use preventive fungicides.

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Credits for technical content

  1. The World Vegetable Center, Shanhua, Taiwan


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