En EspaŅol

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

How was salal (Gaultheria shallon) used by the troops in WWII?
May 20, 2010 - We live in Vancouver BC. My mother says that during WW2 all the kids in her school were sent out to pick salal. They picked sacks of salal which were then sent to the troops. We are trying to find ...
view the full question and answer

Red berries growing along county road in Caldwell County, Texas
September 06, 2014 - Hello, first I would like to thank you for your time. I thank it's great that you guys and girls answer questions (I'm sure y'all are busy). That being said I will get to the question. On the sides...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant with bumpy red fruit
April 26, 2011 - I have a bush with red berry like pods on it. They are about 3/4 of an inch bumpy round with a big seed inside. The leaves are smooth and oval shape. Please let me know if it is poisonous or not, and...
view the full question and answer

Petals of flowers on cake from London
August 28, 2010 - Hi could you please confirm whether it is safe to position an amaryllis on top of a fresh cream cake (it will not be eaten, nor will the stem touch the cream, it will be positioned in a non toxic vial...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating skunk cabbage in Troy, NY
May 19, 2009 - My yard is overgrown with skunk cabbage. My question is how do I get rid of it?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center