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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Verticillium wilt on Tomato

Verticillium dahliae

Recognize the problem

The disease causes old leaves to turn yellow with a characteristic V-shape that narrows from the margin. Symptoms are similar to those of Fusarium wilt and are only noticed during fruit set. Older leaves turn yellow then brown. They wither and may drop early. The disease rarely kills the tomato plants but it reduces vigour and in the long run reduces yield. The loss of foliage exposes the fruits, increasing the risk of sun damage to the fruit.


The disease is spread in soil and remains in the soil for a long time. It is caused by a fungus which enters the plant through the roots. Root knot nematodes make the infection more likely. The disease has a wide range of host plants including weeds. Disease survives best on alkaline soils.


Non-chemical control
  • Use of resistant cultivars helps to control the disease.
  • Avoid planting in fields with a history of disease attack.
  • Remove and burn the diseased plants.
  • Avoid alkaline soils which are good for the disease spread.
  • Control nematodes.
No known chemical is effective in the control of the disease.

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to many countries where this pest or problem is present

Authors: This factsheet is based on information written for "The Tomato Farming Handbook", first published by KENGAP Horticulture, 2011.
Kengap Horticulture Ltd, P.O Box 12898-00400 Nairobi, Kenya
tel: +254 722 575544; +254 723 491549 email:;
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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