Identify, Control & Prevent Cucumber Mosaic Virus On Tomato Plants (Detailed Guide)

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Quick Answer: How To Identify Cucumber Mosaic Virus And Control Them On Tomato Plants?

Cucumber mosaic virus is a common pathogen affecting tomato plants spread by aphids. It causes mottling patterns in leaves, misshapen fruits, and stunted growth. There is no cure for virus-infected plants. Remove and discard the infected plants and disinfect the gardening tools to prevent the spread of infection. You may use floating covers to keep the aphids away from plants.

This guide will provide information for identifying, controlling, and preventing cucumber mosaic virus in your tomato plants.

Read further to know more!

What Is Cucumber Mosaic Virus And How Does It Harms Tomato Plants?

Cucumber mosaic virus is one of the common plant mosaic viruses affecting tomato plants that can be spread by aphids, seeds, and parasitic weeds.

It may affect the foliage of tomato plants and eventually may harm the whole plant resulting in stunted plants with poor fruit yield.

Check out this video on the cucumber mosaic virus:

How To Confirm That Cucumber Mosaic Virus Is Troubling Your Tomato Plants?

Look for the telltale signs. The older leaves may have slight yellowing and mottling patterns with distinct yellowing of veins. The expanding leaves look twisted, curled downward, and appear shoestring.

The plants appear stunted. Also, the fruits appear small and misshapen. The yield may be reduced.

Click here for the symptoms of the cucumber mosaic virus:

Natural Ways To Control Cucumber Mosaic Virus On Tomato Plants

There are no natural methods to control the cucumber mosaic virus on tomato plants. Preliminary studies indicated the use of neem extract to manage the condition.

Also, take care to use seeds or transplants from a reputed nursery free from viruses.

Method 1- Spray Neem Extract

Preliminary studies showed that neem extract treatment was effective in managing the cucumber mosaic virus. It may interfere with the feeding and mating of the pests that spread these viruses.

  • Prepare the neem oil extract– Add a teaspoon of dish detergent and a tablespoon of neem oil to a gallon of water. Shake well and transfer to a spray bottle.
  • Spray on the infected foliage– Spray the plant surfaces until wet. Do not add in the bright sun to avoid burning the foliage.

Here is a useful video on using neem oil extract to control aphids:

Physical Ways To Control Cucumber Mosaic Virus On Tomato Plants

The effective physical way to control the cucumber mosaic virus is to remove the infected plants completely and burn them. You may use a floating cover to prevent the spread of aphids and other insects.

Method 1- Use Floating Row Cover

Mosaic viruses are spread by aphids and using floating covers may protect the plants from aphids. However, the infected plants have to be destroyed or burnt to avoid the spread of infection.

  • Remove infected parts– Monitor the plants for viruses. Remove the infected plants if it displays symptoms and burn them to prevent the spread of the virus in the virus.
  • Use floating row cover– Cover tomato plants with a floating row cover. It helps in preventing insects, including aphids and leafhoppers from spreading the viral infection. You may remove the cover after the vulnerability phase to allow pollination.

Check out this video on using floating row cover to keep bugs away:

Chemical Ways To Control Cucumber Mosaic Virus On Tomato Plants

There are no chemicals available to control cucumber mosaic virus-infected plants. Insecticides with cypermethrin or chlorpyrifos are used as a spray to control aphids.

But, using insecticides to control the spread of cucumber mosaic virus has limitations as aphids may have already transmitted the virus before the action of these insecticides.

How To Prevent Cucumber Mosaic Virus In Tomato Plants?

The viral diseases can’t be controlled once the tomato planted is infected with the cucumber mosaic virus. So, it is important to prevent the introduction of these viruses into the garden.

Method 1- Discard The Infected Tissue

The infected plants should be removed and destroyed immediately to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid throwing them in the compost pile as the virus may persist. Also, remove perennial weeds that may serve as alternate hosts for these viruses.

Method 2- Practice Good Sanitation

Disinfect the gardening tools used for pruning before and after each use. You may use a diluted bleach solution or antiviral disinfectant to clean the tools. Also, sanitize the stake, ties, or wires used.

Method 3- Plant Resistant Varieties

Plant virus-resistant varieties in the garden the following year. The resistant varieties of tomatoes for cucumber mosaic virus are still in the preliminary stages, and you may use tomatoes immune to tobacco mosaic virus.

Method 4- Treat Seeds Before Planting

Soak the seeds of susceptible plants in a 10% bleach solution and plant them later to avoid the spread of seed-borne mosaic viruses.

Method 5- Practice Crop Rotation

Avoid planting tomatoes in the fields affected by cucumber mosaic virus as it may survive long term in the debris. Practice crop rotation to prevent the carrying forward of the viruses.

What Causes Cucumber Mosaic Virus In Tomato Plants?

Cucumber mosaic viruses are mostly spread by garden pests, including aphids. It is also favored by damp conditions, high temperatures, mineral deficiencies, and mineral excesses.

It may also overwinter in perennial weeds and infected plant parts. Cutting or divisions or seeds from infected tissue may carry the virus. It may also be transmitted via garden tools, starter pots, and containers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the host plants of the cucumber mosaic virus?

The Cucumber mosaic virus has a broader host range, including nightshades, cucurbits, and leafy greens. It affects different vegetables, including the tomato, pepper, cucumber, melons, squash, spinach, celery, and beets. It may also trouble different ornamentals, including petunia.

How do you disinfect the tools affected by the cucumber mosaic virus?

Soak the gardening tools for a minute in diluted germicidal bleach (1:9). You may also soak them for one minute in a 20% weight/volume solution of nonfat dry milk and water. Also, alternate between two pruners to allow proper cleaning.

Can you save the plants affected by the cucumber mosaic virus?

No, you can not save the plants affected by the cucumber mosaic virus. It has to be removed and destroyed as it may potentially harbor the virus. The infected plants have to be burned to prevent the spread of infection to other plants.


Hopefully, this guide has highlighted many measures to control and prevent the cucumber mosaic virus that affects tomato plants.

I am interested to hear if you have tried any other method to control these viruses in your garden.

Do share the guide with your gardening friends if you find it helpful!