84°F
weather icon Clear

Worms controllable but not preventable

Question: I recently pulled up the remains of my tomato plants and found the roots disfigured, but I could not see any worms on the roots. I planted tomatoes that had a VFN designation on the label and thought they were resistant to nematodes. Are these the remains of nematodes?

Nematodes are microscopic worms, so you would be unable to see them with your naked eye. Just because they have the label nematode resistant (“N” of “VFN”) doesn’t mean you can’t get them. It just means that the plants can resist infestations but are not immune to them.

From your picture, it does look like a nematode attack. Remember that you should rotate the locations of where you plant vegetables each year. This will help keep diseases and nematode populations from building in certain spots.

However, nematodes are a different problem. There are a few things you can do, and one is solarizing your soil. This technique will help reduce the population of nematodes. Continue to use vegetables with an N designation.

You can plant cover crops such as ones that have been shown to suppress nematodes, including cowpea, rapeseed, velvet bean and sudangrass.

Another technique is to keep your crops outgrowing the nematode attack by keeping them well-fertilized and healthy.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert living in Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Over-pruning tomato plants could lead to sunburn

You can harvest fruit from tomato plants when it’s hot, but they won’t set fruit again from new growth until the temperature drops back into the mid-90s. Either pull the tomato plants when they’re done producing and plant new ones from seed or prune the old ones back and let them flower and fruit again when it’s cooler.

Late afternoon direct sun can be damaging to roses

Somewhat tender plants like roses and crape myrtle can handle the intense desert heat and sunlight if they are growing in soil amended with organics and the soil is covered with mulch that rots or decomposes. Roses and crape myrtle will struggle after a few years when planted in soils covered by rock

Wet, humid spring weather caused influx of aphids

The high population of aphids this year was caused by our wet and humid spring weather. The fastest way to get rid of them is to drench the soil beneath the tree with a systemic insecticide diluted in a bucket of water.

Grasshoppers can be destructive to yards

Grasshoppers start cute and small with small appetites and jump from plant to plant. But as they grow bigger, their increased appetites cause more and more damage to landscapes.

Good tomato crop probably a result of cool spring weather

Tomatoes stop setting fruit when air temperatures stay consistently above 95 degrees. The tomatoes that set earlier continue to grow and mature when it stays hot. If the air temperature drops below 95 for a couple of days, new flowers will again set fruit.

Slime mold fungus in lawn causes no harm

Slime mold fungi are particularly disgusting because they are gelatinous and, over time, change color if they’re left undisturbed. Slime molds can lay atop the grass and smother it.

Rabbits can kill tree by eating trunk

If rabbits ate the trunk of a tree in a complete circle around the trunk, it’s a goner. Let it sucker from the bottom and start a new tree from the suckers.