A number of gardeners are reporting a stunted look and decline of their tomatoes. The cause appears to be a very tiny mite that sucks juices and vigor from the tips of the tomato stems. It also seems to affect pepper plants. The mite is so small it can only be seen under high magnification but the signs of plant decline are very evident.
At first gardeners notice a slowing of growth. Then very quickly the new growths are stunted and contorted. Eventually the tips of the plants turn brown and the plant declines. All fruit production stops.
Several natural controls have been effective. Products containing insecticidal soap, neem oil or sulfur have given control of the mites within a week. Here is the good news - otherwise healthy plants gradually resume growth and fruit production. Follow label instructions carefully as products with sulfur give good mite control but may also burn plants under certain conditions.