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Holes on Tomato Leaves – Why is That?

Holes on Tomato Leaves – Why is That?

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Tomatoes are popular fruits or vegetables for your home garden. Tomato plants are susceptible to diseases, especially during summer, so don’t panic if you notice small or large holes in your crops.

Holes on tomato leaves are caused by physical and chemical damage and certain types of insects, worms, and diseases.

These holes impact plant growth as they minimize the rate of photosynthesis, ultimately weakening the plant.


Holes on Tomato Leaves

Holes in tomato leaves may be caused by environmental factors, pest infestation, and poor growing conditions. Plants with holes are more vulnerable to other diseases and pest infestation. Since reduced photosynthesis rates weaken them, the production rate is also affected.


Understanding What Causes Holes In Tomato Leaves

Tomatoes are beautiful additions to your home garden, but unfortunately, they attract pests, insects, and diseases that defoliate plants and leave holes on leaves.

The culprit could be an environmental condition, an insect, or a disease. It’s common for crops to get plagued by issues even with the best care, but as long as you identify the problem early enough, your crops can be saved.

Tomato problems depend on various factors such as local pests and disease outbreaks, soil, and the climate the tomatoes are growing in.

Younger tomato plants are at more risk of getting damaged by pest infestation. If you are a keen observer, you can spot the difference between the markings of bacterial speck and bacterial spot diseases.

The holes appearing on tomato leaves are actually lesions caused by certain conditions that provide perfect breeding grounds for tomato diseases.

Lesions caused by bacterial speck are smaller than those caused by bacterial spots, so you can easily tell what is affecting your plants.

Leaf spots, however, have no impact on crop yield, and if you catch the disease on time, you can control it. If you notice small or large holes in tomato leaves, any of the following could be the cause.


Insects and Pests

Tomatoes have three pests that cause severe damage, fruit worms, hornworms, and squash bugs. These three cause small holes in tomatoes, with tomato fruit worms being the most prevalent.

They all affect tomato plants differently, with flea beetles leaving behind an array of small holes and hornworms eating through the plant harshly, leaving large, irregular holes.

Aphids are tiny pests, but the amount of damage they cause on plants is immeasurable, while slugs prefer working in dark conditions to leave big, ragged holes.


Fruit worms

These insects are no fun to deal with. They are caterpillars that eat tomato leaves and fruits off the plant.

They poke holes on leaves and fruits, causing them to rot, and by the time you notice, they’ve eaten through the inside of the fruit affecting yield quality. You end up with fluid instead of a delicious tomato.

It’s hard to get rid of these irritating pests, but if you can identify the signs early enough, you can still save your crops and their yield.

The holes caused on leaves might be hard to spot as they are small and less obvious. This damage on leaves progresses till the first fruit development when it switches to fruits.


Flea beetles

Flea beetles leave very tiny holes on tomato leaves, and according to research, the former poses the greatest threat to younger plants and those at their 4th and 5th stages of growth.

Flea beetles drill uneven holes on leaves, while larger caterpillars like hornworms cause bigger foliage damage. Other than leaving holes, flea beetles also rid the plant off of its foliage.

They are not easy to spot as they can easily camouflage against the green tomato leaves, and it might be too late to save the plant by the time you notice them.


Growing Healthy Tomato Plants

Fresh, ripened tomatoes are a great source of summer joy, especially for gardeners. However, no matter how much you care for your crops, they are prone to diseases and pests infestation due to environmental stresses.

Some leaf problems on tomatoes are severe and require immediate action, while others are cosmetic and have no impact on fruit yield.

Tomatoes are susceptible to an array of diseases and infestations. Tomato troubles are very prevalent, so if you want to avoid them, begin with healthy plants as they have better chances of fighting off pests and diseases than stressed plants.

Plant the crops in a site that receives full sun and ensure the soil remains evenly wet throughout. When planting, provide the plants with a solid source of nutrients using granular and water-soluble fertilizers for tomatoes as needed.

Tomatoes are priceless when they are grown organically and kept from diseases and pests infestation.

Keeping tabs on the plant’s health will help you notice early signs of diseases, larvae, and insects that affect the plant’s health. Have the right products and tools to handle any type of trouble affecting your plants.


Frequently Asked Questions about Holes on Tomato Leaves


Are holes in tomato leaves normal?

Most gardeners often get confused as to whether or not holes on tomato leaves are normal. Holes in plants are indications that something is affecting and eating the foliage away. The holes can be deep or shallow, depending on the cause. The culprits snacking on your tomatoes could be flea beetles, aphids, slugs, tomato hornworms, or fruit worms.


Can I protect my tomatoes from pests?

Tomatoes are very prone to infestation by pests and diseases, so it’s important to take preventative measures. Tomato plants are a magnet for pests that cause holes in leaves and fruits, affecting the lusciousness and distinctive tomato flavor. Eliminating insects and pests in your garden ensures you have a bountiful harvest come the end of the season.


Are all pests harmful to tomato plants?

As much as pests and insects greatly affect tomato plants, some insects are actually beneficial to the garden, so don’t rush to get the nearest insecticide. Some chemical insecticides are harmful to plants, so be careful when assessing the damage level on plants to determine what the intruder is. Remember that one insect doesn’t cause an infestation before implementing hasty steps to manage the situation.



Tomatoes grow themselves with the right heat conditions, good drainage soil, nutrient-rich soil, regular irrigation, and enough breathing space.

It’s not uncommon, however, for problems to creep in even in the best conditions, so best be prepared to ward them off and protect your crops.

They are prone to various diseases and pests, most of these causing holes and brown or yellow spots on leaves. It’s easy to determine what is affecting your plants by looking at the leaves for particular patterns.