4 Secrets Deadly To Tomato Worms
Want to know the secret to growing healthy and strong tomato plants? Well, it’s really not a secret at all! It’s just basic but effective gardening techniques like properly watering your plants, grooming properly, practicing good mulching and crop rotation. The real secret is to do all this diligently! Once you employ them to you tomato plants, they will surely grow to be big, strong and healthy!
Secret Number 1: Not All Bugs Are Bad
Natural predators like the ladybirds, damsel bugs, lacewings, shield bugs, parasitic wasps and other birds are predators of many common tomato pests like the Bolloworm or Fruitworm. This pest tunnels into tomatoes causing it to rot. They are found the world over and they eat anything they can find.
Bollworms range in color from green to yellow to pinkish red to chocolate brown. They have 4 pairs of legs on their abdomen and they resemble fat little caterpillars. They will usually be green which makes them hard to find on your plant. If ever you do find one, getting rid of it is easy. Just pick it off and if you see damaged fruit, pick it off and destroy it.
The Second Secret Is Good Mulching
Always mulch your tomato plants to keep them strong and healthy. Mulching is the process of layering 2 – 3 inches deep of compost on top of your soil. It has tons of benefits like inhibiting weed growth, reducing evaporation, retaining water, keeping soil temperature cool, keeping good soil structure and adding all kinds of nutrients to the soil.
Aside from all of that, it also helps prevent the presence of cutworms. Cutworms are the biggest threat to seedlings. These caterpillars feed on seedlings and leave clean cuts on the stems which will appear to have been cut off. Seedlings are most vulnerable in their first 3 weeks of life so make so to always mulch your plants to keep this pest at bay!
Secret Number 3: Collar Your Plants!
Another way to keep cutworms from damaging and killing your plants is to put up a defensive wall or collar around the seedling. The collar can be made from wax paperor aluminum paper or old tin cans or old plastic soft drink bottles. Two toothpicks as stakes on either side of the seedlings will also work. In order for the collar to be effective, make sure it is 3 inches, or more, in diameter. Also, it should be at least 1 inch deep into the ground to stop diggers and 2 inches high to stop high-climbers.
The Secret Is To Always Rotate!
Root Knot Nematodes are very nasty and damaging to your plants. This pest has quite the reputation and they are the main reason why crop rotation is very important. They are microscopic round worms that set up colonies in the roots of your tomato plants. They are aptly named because they create little lumps or knots in the roots. Without the roots, your plants no longer have the needed nutrients and will weaken which leads to stunted growth, premature wilting of the leaves and make the plant vulnerable to other diseases.
The presence of root knot nematode means death for your plant because they cannot be easily removed. The only way to remove them is to sterilize the soil which makes the soil loose its nutrients. To prevent this, make sure to practice good crop rotation. Rotate your crops with non tomato plants like legumes and maize since they are resistant to root knot nematodes.
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