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White Lines In Tomatoes – Meaning, Cause, & What To Do

Everyone wants a perfect tomato. When you go to pick your ripe tomatoes off the vine, you want something big, red, and juicy, right? It could be worrying when you see white lines on your tomatoes, and you wonder what it means, what causes it, and what to do. 

White lines on tomatoes are caused by the stress of growing, temperature changes, or fungus. Tomato leaves with white lines may be the product of an invasive bug called leaf miners.

Tomatoes with white lines may be imperfect, but the white lines don’t always mean danger for your crops or your health when you eat the tomatoes with white lines. Continue reading to learn more!

Why Do My Tomatoes Have White Lines On Them

Tomatoes develop white lines during the stressors caused by normal growing.

Although we all want to picture big, red, juicy, perfect tomatoes, the reality is that not all tomatoes will grow perfectly. 

Temperature Changes

Tomatoes can be finicky at night and do not like harsh temperature changes.

If you plant your tomato plants too early, the resulting difference between the temperature at night and during the day could stress your tomatoes. 

The temperature change is not drastic enough to kill your tomato plant altogether, but it can lead to white lines developing as they grow. 

Sun Damage

White lines can be the result of something as simple as sun damage.

Most gardeners will aim for a spot in direct sunlight for most of the day for their tomato plants.

Even though tomatoes love sunlight, it could lead to imperfections on the skin of the tomatoes.

Sun damaged tomatoes are normal and even common when you aren’t commercially altering tomatoes.

Fungus Or Disease

Different fungi or diseases can cause imperfections in tomatoes and tomato plants.

You may be a causal gardener, but I’m sure that you know plants can get “sick” just like people and animals.

Some diseases and fungi are enough to kill off tomato plants, but this will usually happen before your tomatoes ripen.

If your tomatoes are already about to ripen, then the fungus or disease has only led to some imperfections in your tomatoes, like white lines.

How Do You Treat White Lines On Tomatoes

Once white lines happen on tomatoes for the above reasons, they cannot be treated.

We all want the perfect tomato, but there is no way to treat white lines on tomatoes once they happen.

Prevention is the best solution for tomatoes with white lines.

Since temperature is one of the biggest culprits for white lines, you need to be careful when you plant your tomatoes.

Of course, none of us can tell the weather what you do, but you can watch the long-range forecast and take care not to plant your tomato plants too late or too early in the season, thus preventing wild temperatures changes between morning and night. 

Can You Eat Tomatoes With White Lines

Yes, tomatoes with white lines are safe to be eaten.

Most of the time, any of the imperfections on your tomatoes are cosmetic and do not change the taste or quality of your tomato.

The white lines do not suddenly make the tomato dangerous or unhealthy.

If you still do not feel comfortable eating the white lines, you can cut or peel them off to reveal the tomato without any imperfections.

As with any freshly picked vegetable, make sure there are no indications of rotting or bugs. White lines are harmless, but mold on a tomato is different and harmful. 

If you may be unsure if the tomato is safe to eat, you should choose not to eat it, even if it may be a waste.

You can also carefully choose where you plant your tomatoes if you think your tomatoes get too much fun. Find a location where there is some shade, so the plants do not get overwhelmed by the sun.

Why Do My Tomato Leaves Have White Lines 

If your tomato leaves and not the tomatoes themselves have white lines, then your tomato plants have leaf miners.

Leaf miners are tiny insect larvae that live and feed on the plants of your tomato leaves. The leaf miners eat the leaves and move up and down, leaving holes in your leaves and white lines on the leaves and tomatoes.

Leaf miners live between the layers of your tomato plant leaves and burrow around the leaves. They are sucking up the juices in the leaf, which leads to those veins of white lines across your leaves.

The infestation can lead to your tomato leaves dying and falling off

Are Leaf Miners Harmful

Leaf miners are not harmful.

Although leaf miners sound like something scary, they do little that can be considered harmless.

Even as leaf miners work their way through your tomato leaves, the worst that can happen is that the leaf will die and fall off. 

Unless you have a severe infestation of leaf miners, you will only have a few cosmetic defects like dead or fallen leaves from your plant. 

Leaf miners aren’t harmful to humans either. You won’t get bitten by leaf miners, so you don’t need to fear them either. 

How Do You Get Rid Of Leaf Miners On Tomato Plants

Leaf miners aren’t dangerous, but you will still want to get rid of them, so they do not spread to the rest of your tomato plants or other plants.

Pesticide

People don’t always love pesticides, but they are powerful tools to combat infestations. 

You can find commercial pesticides that are not harmful to humans or animals, so it is not a toxic poison. It will be enough to kill leaf miners on your tomato plants.

Destroy Infested Leaves

You may be someone who loves to check your tomato plants every day so that you can mitigate leaf miners then.

If you see that a leaf is infested with white lines and leaf miners, pluck the leaf off the plant to get rid of it. 

Leaf miners can’t continue to infest your plants if you remove the problem. 

This can feel like a chore, but since you don’t need to remove leaf miners, you can pick the leaves off as you notice them. 

Leave Them Alone!

This might not be what you were expecting, but you don’t have to mitigate your leaf miners.

Since leaf miners aren’t fully grown insects, several predators will prey on them and take care of the problem for you. 

You do not always need to jump the gun and buy a pesticide or use another mitigation solution for the leaf miners.