You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Fabric protects tomatoes
Q.I saw tomato plants completely enclosed in a translucent fabric stretched over the tomato cage. Do you know why they would grow them in that way?
A. The fabric keeps white flies and thrips off the plants. These pests are very small sucking insects that can destroy blooms and reduce foliage effectiveness with their feeding. More importantly, they are notorious for their role in spreading diseases. The latest example of that problem was experienced in the fall of 2010 when white flies spread the Yellow Tomato Wilt virus to tomato plants all over the San Antonio area.
The problem with diseases is that these insects only need to penetrate the plant once to leave a virus. It doesn’t always matter if the insect dies immediately after that initial contact from any insecticide.
By using snap-type clothes pins and soil over the base of the fabric, the plant can be sealed within the covering. In addition to keeping disease-carrying insects out, the fabric reduces wind damage and provides some cold protection. The fabric lets in enough sunlight to maintain maximum growth rate.
The fabric is removed when the plant fills the cage. At that point, infection will not eliminate the crop.
Another way to prevent the disease from white flies and thrips on tomatoes is to use a resistant variety. Tycoon is resistant to the Yellow Wilt Tomato Virus.
Q.Is it necessary to spray fruit trees every week to produce blemish-free fruit? How about roses?
A. Fruit trees, especially peaches, and modern roses are vulnerable to insect pests. Insects, such as plum curculios and cucumber beetles plus several kinds of caterpillars and stink bugs, feast on foliage and fruit. For roses, in addition to thrips, expect chafer beetles, aphids, and caterpillars to infest them.
The best plan for fruit trees and modern roses is to spray every week with an insecticide and a fungicide. Rose growers should consider acephate and triforine. Organic rose growers can consider sulfur products, spinosad, and neem oil. For apples, plums, peaches, and pears, a combination of Sevin alternated with malathion and Captan works well.
You can mix your own combination spray or buy concentrates that already include both a fungicide and insecticide.
If you use an insecticide, check the label for the required time between spray and harvest. For crops such as blackberries, peaches, or tomatoes, that can be crucial. Carbaryl’s time between the last spray and harvest can be as short as three days or as long as two weeks, depending on the formulation and the crop.
Select a formulation that suits your situation and harvest all the ripe fruit before you spray.
Calvin Finch is a horticulturist and the San Antonio Water System’s project director of regional initiatives and special projects. Hear him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP 930 AM radio Saturdays noon to 2 p.m., and 1-3 p.m. Sundays. Or, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Bermuda grass stem maggot spreads in Texas (July 29, 2015)
Floresville FFA members receive degrees, Walrath scholarship (July 29, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 29, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 29, 2015)
Roses suffer from heat (July 29, 2015)
Senate, House spending bills signal support for industry (July 29, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 29, 2015)
Texas farmer to lead corn group (July 29, 2015)
Time to prepare for hurricane season (July 29, 2015)
‘Where Does Our Food Come From?’ (July 29, 2015)
Crow is 15th in the nation (July 22, 2015)
Have you seen a Texas horned lizard? (July 22, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 22, 2015)
Landscaping picks (July 22, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 22, 2015)
Offices issue receipts (July 22, 2015)
Recent rains — fewer grasshoppers! (July 22, 2015)
Stallman announces departure in January (July 22, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 22, 2015)
Benefits of the Chinese pistache (July 15, 2015)
Cattle market outlook, trends short course (July 15, 2015)
Conservation assistance online for landowners, users (July 15, 2015)
Crouch Memorial Bull Riding is July 25 (July 15, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 15, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 15, 2015)
Mischief-maker transforms into equine world champion (July 15, 2015)
TDA Market (July 15, 2015)
Wardens investigate alligator attack (July 15, 2015)
Ag-Pro continues John Deere tradition (July 8, 2015)
Cattlemen, Floresville FFA unite (July 8, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 8, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 8, 2015)
Locals attend conference (July 8, 2015)
Much of peach crop excellent quality, quantity (July 8, 2015)
Nomination period open for farm committee (July 8, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 8, 2015)
Things farmers do when it rains (July 8, 2015)
Two-part water conservation landscaping workshop in SA (July 8, 2015)
U.S. cattle herd safety threatened by Brazilian beef importation? (July 8, 2015)
West Nile virus vaccine in horses (July 8, 2015)
Will new driveway affect live oak? (July 8, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 1, 2015)
July 2015 Gardening Calendar (July 1, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 1, 2015)
Native anaqua is a tasty treat for wildlife (July 1, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 1, 2015)
Texas railway raises concerns on eminent domain (July 1, 2015)
Third time's a charm for Buck Taylor roping (July 1, 2015)