En EspaÑol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 03, 2009

From: Tyler, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Worms in wild plums
Answered by: Nina Hawkins

QUESTION:

Wild Plums... They are just starting to get ripe here in East Texas. Picked a few today and they all had dark spots on them. When I cut them open there were tiny worms inside. Does this mean they are all going to be bad? I've scoured the web and can't find any info on this.

ANSWER:

Based on your description of the dark spots on the plums with tiny worms inside, my best guess is that you are dealing with the plum curculio, a weevil that infests plums, apples, blueberries and other fruit.  The dark spots are from the crescent shaped wounds created when the females lay their eggs in the flesh of the fruit, where the worms hatch and tunnel.  If you see these spots on a plum, it likely has worms inside.  The worms later drop to the soil underneath the trees where they pupate into adults.  To keep the next generation of weevils at bay you must remove and destroy all the infested fruit from the tree and the ground around it so that the worms inside won't get a chance to transform into adults.  (This would be a good time to have a neighbor who keeps chickens!)   Other things you can try are mulching the soil about a foot from the trunk out to the drip line, pruning for an open canopy so that birds will have access to the weevils and releasing beneficial nematodes.   Above all else, keeping the soil underneath the tree clean of fallen fruit is the most important thing you can do to lessen the weevil population and get healthy plums next year.

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Information on herbs for Northeast Ohio
May 03, 2006 - Hello there, I am writing you seeking some information on Northeast Ohio's native plants. This has been rather difficult to find—specific native plants that can be used as herbs. If you could h...
view the full question and answer

Grafting to a cherry laurel for edible fruit in Austin
July 01, 2010 - I was the one who asked earlier about grafting to a Cherry Laurel. I will happily graft a local plum on it, say a Mexican Plum or American Plum or one of the naturalized peaches (a friend has an India...
view the full question and answer

How Do Persimmons Breed - Starkville, MS
August 14, 2012 - Thank you for your earlier response about the genders of native persimmon trees. We have two, a much larger one that has borne fruit for years and years and a smaller one that I'd just assumed was m...
view the full question and answer

Recipe for cherry jelly from wild black cherry tree in Tennessee
July 02, 2008 - I think that we have a wild black cherry tree on our farm. I understand that the fruit is edible. Do you have a recipe for jelly or any other food product using this fruit?
view the full question and answer

Planting fruit and nut trees in Archer, FL.
January 26, 2012 - We're looking to plant a few fruit and nut trees in Archer, Florida. We've been thinking about figs, apples, peaches, oranges, plums, and whatever nuts grow best here (looks like almonds and pecan...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center