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Gardening Q&A


Ask the Master Gardeners: June 2011




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Disclaimer:
Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.

May 24, 2011 | 1,773 views | Post a comment

Q: My tomato plants are not setting fruit. Why?

A: According to AgriLife Extension Horticulture Specialist Nancy Roe, there are several factors that could cause this. First, above a certain temperature (85 to 95 degrees) tomato pollen becomes sterile. Next, when it is hot during the day, photosynthesis slows. Then when we have warm nights and rapid rates of respiration, carbohydrates are used up leaving the plant with not much left to make fruit.

Q: My tomatoes have deteriorated at the blossom end of the fruit. I was told it was blossom end rot. What causes this?

A: Basically, blossom end rot is a disorder caused by calcium deficiency induced by water stress. In other words, the calcium doesn’t get to the end of the fruit because of a temporary water shortage. This is why it is so important that you water evenly. Be consistent and prevent fluctuations in moisture levels. I’ve found that putting in drip irrigation was the key. I have one pot that requires me to remember to water; consequently, that tomato is usually wilted before I remember. Whereas, the ones in my raised bed on drip irrigation get watered with a gallon of water on a regular schedule. According to Aggie-horticulture, liquid fertilization using calcium nitrate can be used for small plots. My organic tomato fertilizer actually has calcium nitrate in its formulation. Another way to help retain your soil moisture is to mulch. According to the website, blossom end rot can happen to any of the fruiting vegetables.

Q: Now that the weather is really warm, is there anything I should know about watering my trees? I certainly don’t want to lose any.

A: Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac reminds us that laying a hose at the trunk of a large tree and letting it run for hours is not the way to water. When you are irrigating trees and large shrubs, apply the water just inside and a little beyond the drip line. This is the area directly below the outer reaches of the branches (which is where the feeding root system of a tree or shrub is located). His suggestion is to lay a slowly running hose on the ground and move it around the drip line as each area becomes saturated to a depth of eight to ten inches. Since this means your hose runs for several hours for large trees, I prefer using large buckets with a quarter inch hole drilled near the bottom. I use several around a tree and fill them with water. The water runs out slowly and saturates the ground.

If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is guadalupecountymastergardeners.org. The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, on the second floor of the Texas AgriLife Extension building, 210 East Live Oak in Seguin. The next MG class begins August 24 and runs to December 7. The cost is $170. For more information or to register, go up on the MG website.
 
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