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

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
view the full question and answer

Century plant leaves falling over from San Antonio
April 10, 2013 - Have a large century plant about % feet tall. The leaves are falling over. Can you tell me what to do to avoid this.
view the full question and answer

Control of invasive sandburs in Austin
May 05, 2014 - My attempts to control / eradicate Sanbur with pre-emergent corn gluten twice yeary for the last three years have been unsuccessful. My post emergent pulling weeds for 15 years has also been unsucces...
view the full question and answer

Ants in the compost pile from Georgetown TX
March 09, 2012 - Can you give me any suggestions for ridding my compost pile of ants?
view the full question and answer

Problems with rusty blackhaw viburnum in Austin
May 07, 2010 - I have a four foot rusty blackhaw viburnum. Last summer the leaves turned reddish and in the late summer most of them fell off. This February the plant started to leaf out and then bloomed. It has ...
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