Tomato (Processing)

Year-Round IPM Program

(Reviewed 12/13, updated 12/13)

These practices are recommended for a monitoring-based IPM program that reduces water quality problems related to pesticide use. Track your progress through the year using this form.

Water quality becomes impaired when pesticides move off-site and into water. Each time a pesticide application is considered, review the Pesticide Application Checklist at the bottom of this form to learn how to minimize water quality problems.

This program covers the major pests of tomatoes for processing. Details on carrying out each practice, information on additional pests, and additional copies of this form are available from the UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Tomatoes.

Preplanting

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Fertilizer application, herbicide application, drift, and runoff due to rain or irrigation.
What should you be doing during this time?
Consider a cover crop (rather than fallowing or using vegetative filter strips) to:
  • Minimize rainfall runoff
  • Improve infiltration
  • Reduce erosion
Consider a subsurface drip irrigation system or other modifications of your irrigation system to reduce run off and risk of diseases and weeds. Perform maintenance if a drip irrigation system is already installed.
Select your field, considering cropping and pest history, and surrounding crops; check previous crop for signs of disease or soil problems that may affect tomatoes.
If nematode galled roots were found in the previous season, consider resistant varieties, nematicides, or an alternate crop.
Review records of weed species and numbers in the previous crop. Evaluate fallow or preplant herbicide needs.
Take a preplant soil sample for nutrient and salinity analysis, and apply preplant fertilizer.
Check field and surrounding land for vole and gopher activity in late fall or winter.
Consider crop rotation for reducing pathogen, nematode and weed problems.
Consider a preplant irrigation in the Southern San Joaquin Valley.
Select a tomato variety, considering:
  • Dodder presence in previous crop (especially if previous crop was tomato or other dodder host such as alfalfa)
  • Prevalent pathogen problems
  • Nematode problems
Use healthy, pathogen-free transplants.
Consider tillage options before planting.
If weather has been cool and wet and bacterial speck has been common in the field, consider delaying planting.

Planting to prebloom

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Fertilizer application, herbicide sprays, insecticide application, fungicide application, drift, and runoff due to irrigation or rain.
What should you be doing during this time?
With transplants, take caution not to move pests from the greenhouse to the field.
Before planting, visually inspect plants for diseases and insects.
Destroy plants with late blight, gray mold, sweetpotato whitefly or pinworm.
Apply starter fertilizer at planting.
Consider an irrigation if your location has not had adequate spring rain.

Look for insects, seedling diseases, and blank spots:

Direct-seeded: from seedling emergence until the 2 to 3 true leaf stage

Transplants: for several weeks after transplanting

  • Aphids
  • Cutworms
  • Damping-off
  • Darkling beetles
  • Flea beetles
  • Garden symphylans
  • Wireworms
Survey and manage weeds:
  • Cultivate weeds along plant line.
  • Consider hand weeding.
  • Consider applying herbicides after planting based on survey information.

Keep records on a weed survey form (PDF).

In furrow irrigated systems, consider sidedressing the crop with nitrogen at prebloom. Use a pre-sidedress soil nitrate test to help guide fertilizer applications.
Consider applying bactericides for:
  • Bacterial speck—if historically it has been common in the field or is present now and the weather has been cool and wet, with forecasts for similar conditions.
  • Bacterial spot—if present and the weather has been mild and wet.
Look for bacterial canker and manage according to the Tomato Pest Management Guidelines, especially under cool and wet conditions or in sprinkler-irrigated fields.
Sporadic or minor pests you may see:

Bloom to early fruit set (up to 1 inch fruit)

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Fertilizer application, fungicide application, insecticide application, drift, runoff due to irrigation.
What should you be doing during this time?
Start monitoring for consperse stink bugs by placing stink bug pheromone traps in the field at flowering, especially in fields with a history of damage.
Take petiole and leaf tissue samples for nutrient analysis and apply nutrients as necessary.
Irrigate as required for plant growth.

Look for diseases such as:

Clean equipment to reduce transfer of diseases to non-infected fields. Keep records for next year's management practices.

Monitor weekly for signs and symptoms of powdery mildew.

Sporadic or minor pests you may see:

  • Aphids (green peach and other early season aphids, potato)
  • Armyworms
  • Hornworms
  • Loopers
  • Lygus bugs
  • Thrips
  • Tomato pinworm
  • Tomato bug
  • Tomato fruitworm
  • Virus symptoms
  • Whiteflies

Late fruit set (1 inch fruit to first red fruit)

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Insecticide application, fungicide application, drift, runoff due to irrigation.
What should you be doing during this time?
Use irrigation practices that will enhance fruit yield and quality.
Take leaf samples for:
  • Tomato fruitworm
  • Potato aphid

Keep records on a monitoring form (PDF).

Sample for stink bugs by shaking vines. Treatment is not usually required for juice or paste tomatoes, otherwise treat if needed according to the Tomato Pest Management Guidelines.
When fruit are 1 inch or more in diameter, sample fruit for:

Keep records on a monitoring form (PDF) and treat if needed according to Tomato Pest Management Guideline.

Continue monitoring for leaf and stem bronzing due to russet mite.
Watch for diseases:
  • Bacterial canker
  • Late blight
  • Buckeye rot

Treat if needed according to the Tomato Pest Management Guideline.

Consider management for blackmold according to the Tomato Pest Management Guidelines.
Look for signs and symptoms of powdery mildew.

Sporadic or minor pests you may see:

  • Aphids (green peach and other early season aphids, potato)
  • Hornworms
  • Loopers
  • Lygus bugs
  • Thrips
  • Tomato bug

First red fruit (preharvest)

Special issues of concern related to water quality: Insecticide application, fungicide application, drift, fertilizer application, runoff due to irrigation.
What should you be doing during this time?
Control irrigation to maintain yield and fruit quality.
If a late harvest is planned, consider management options for:
  • Blackmold
  • Powdery mildew, unless a few weeks before harvest
Take leaf samples for:
  • Tomato fruitworm
  • Potato aphid

Keep records on a monitoring form (PDF).

Monitor fruit for armyworm damage and distinguish from fruitworm and cutworm damage. Keep records on a monitoring form (PDF) for armyworm.
Survey for weeds just before harvest for next year's planning. Keep records on a survey form (PDF).

Sporadic or minor pests you may see:

  • Cutworms
  • Flea beetles
  • Hornworms
  • Leafminers
  • Lygus bugs
  • Tomato pinworm
  • Tomato psyllid
  • Whiteflies

Harvest and postharvest

Special issues of concern related to water quality: None.
What should you be doing during this time?
Harvest promptly to reduce fruit rot problems such as blackmold.
Identify pest damage in harvested fruit.
Consider fall soil sampling for nutrients and nematodes.
For weedy fields, especially those with perennial weeds such as field bindweed and little mallow, apply irrigation followed by contact herbicides according to the Tomato Pest Management Guidelines.
Plan fallow season, cover crop, or overwintering crop management to reduce runoff and erosion. Deep ripping, if planned, is best done postharvest.
Plan for next year.

Pesticide application checklist

When planning for possible pesticide applications in an IPM program, consult the Pest Management Guidelines, and review and complete this checklist to consider practices that minimize environmental and efficacy problems.
  • Choose a pesticide from the UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines for the target pest, considering:
  • Before an application:
    • Ensure that spray equipment is properly calibrated to deliver the desired pesticide amounts for optimal coverage. (For more information, see Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration)
    • Use appropriate spray nozzles and pressure to minimize the off-site movement of pesticides.
    • Avoid spraying during these conditions to avoid off-site movement of pesticides:
      • Wind speed over 5 mph
      • During inversions
      • Just prior to rain or irrigation (unless it is an appropriate amount, such as when incorporating a soil-applied pesticide)
      • At tractor speeds of over 2 mph
    • Identify and take special care to protect sensitive areas (for example, waterways or riparian areas) surrounding your application site.
    • Review and follow labeling for pesticide handling, personal protection equipment (PPE) requirements, storage, and disposal guidelines.
    • Check and follow restricted entry intervals (REI) and preharvest intervals (PHI).
  • After an application:
    • Record application date, product used, rate, and location of application.
    • Follow up to confirm that treatment was effective.
  • Consider water management practices that reduce pesticide movement off-site:
  • Consider practices that reduce air quality problems.
    • When possible, reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by decreasing the amount of pesti-cide applied, choosing low-emission management methods, and avoiding fumigants and emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulations.
    • Use the Department of Pesticide Regulation calculators to determine VOC emission rates from fumigant and nonfumigant pesticides.

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