How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Tobacco mosaic virus

Tobacco mosaic virus affects tomatoes. Symptoms include light green, yellow, or white mottling on leaves that may resemble symptoms of some nutrient deficiencies. Leaves may be stringy or distorted.


Symptoms of tobacco mosaic virus are very similar to damage caused by herbicides. Look for the mottled pattern of yellowing on tomato leaves.


There is no cure for viruses in infected plants. The source of tobacco mosaic can be contaminated seed, but the virus is usually carried on the hands and clothing of those who use tobacco products. Infected plants produce edible fruit, but yield, size, and quality are reduced. To prevent virus in the future, plant resistant varieties. Several precautions can be taken to reduce the mechanical spread of viruses: avoid handling plants (plant seed rather than transplants), remove diseased plants, control weeds and rotate crops, and avoid planting near virus-infected plants. Do not smoke and handle plants or allow tobacco near the garden.

Tobacco mosaic virus
Tobacco mosaic virus

Shoestring appearance on leaves
Shoestring appearance on leaves

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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