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

Saturday - May 30, 2009

From: Campbellton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Watering
Title: Problems with tomatoes in tubs in Campbellton, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have my tomatoes planted in big black plastic tubs, they are starting to wilt and dry up. I have put Sevin dust on them for bugs. I haven't been over watering. Could you please tell me why they are dying?

ANSWER:

Lycopersicon esculentum, tomato, is native to South America, a member of the Solanaceae, or Nightshade, family. Since its early cultivation by prehistoric natives of South America, it has moved northward through Mexico and is one of the most hybridized of all plants. Both of these facts remove them from our area of expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Although the tomato plant is out of our field, we would like to mention that planting anything in the summer in Texas in black plastic is dangerous, in terms of the soil heating. That black plastic really conducts the heat into the soil, and plants are accustomed to being grown in soil kept cool by the insulation of all the earth around it and sun only hitting the surface. That's just a thought, we have no expert proof, but we know we have fried plants we left in the black plastic from the nursery in the sun. 

For some help from some experts who actually know what they're talking about, read this website from Cornell University Horticulture by Stephen Reiners, Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Tomatoes.  Another good article is from Northern Gardening.com Growing Healthy Tomatoes by Terry L. Hockey.  In terms of spraying the Sevin on the plants, have you seen and identified any bugs on your tomatoes? Read this article from Living With Bugs.com Sevin (Carbaryl) Insecticide.  Before you fix something, find out what the problem is. 

 

More Pests Questions

Insect infestation, identification and treatment
April 21, 2008 - help! I have an infestation of small flies in my flower/vegetable beds. They seem to be eating the leaves of just about everything. I've tried to find out exactly what they are, but haven't had any ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with blueberries from Kernersville NC
April 29, 2012 - My blueberry plants have no leaves or scrawny ones. I have 13 plants, 5 of them are like this.
view the full question and answer

Poor drainage in wildflower bed
November 10, 2004 - I have a flower bed that has given me difficulty because it has poor drainage but typically receives sun for most of the day. Salvia gregii was the only survivors for the initial landscaping attempt. ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Gregg's mistflower from Fredericksburg, TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Something is wilting the tops of my Gregg's mistflower, Conoclinium greggii. I cannot see bugs on the plant, so I am wondering if it's a disease. The problem is widespread to...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with aphids on milkweed plants in Alloway, NJ.
July 11, 2012 - I planted milk weed for the Monarch butterfly. Every year it gets orange aphids that seem to suck out the juices and eventually kill the plant sooner than I like.
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