How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Tomato

Field Preparation

(Reviewed 1/07, updated 1/07)

In this Guideline

Optimal physical and chemical soil conditions are required to establish healthy plants. Poor soils require remedial action in order to establish healthy plants; this may take many years and can be expensive. Use the table below to compare tomato field requirements with the conditions of your prospective site. If there are specific site problems, you will need to determine if remediation is feasible. Proper field preparation is also essential for minimizing fertilizer and pesticide runoff.

Site problem Remedy Comments
Hardpan, compacted soils Deep ripping Tomato grows successfully on a range of soil textures, but deep, loamy, well-drained soil with organic matter is preferred.
Sandy soils Irrigate more often
Clay soils with poor aeration Install drainage tiles
Uneven topography, ditches, waterlogging
  • Precise field leveling appropriate for irrigation system and providing for drainage at tail end.
  • Use of subsurface drip irrigation.
  • Install drainage tiles.
 
Nutrient deficiencies such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and
sometimes potassium
Fertilize if soil tests show deficiencies. See FERTILIZATION.
Low pH Low pH: lime the soil  
High pH High pH: reclaim (see sodic soil below)  
Saline soil Reclaim: leach excess salts below the root zone. Sites with excessive salts require major modifications that can be expensive.
Sodic soil

Remediation requires adequate soil calcium to replace sodium on soil cation exchange sites. If soil is low in calcium, apply gypsum (CaSO4). If soil has free lime (CaCO3) apply sulfur, which over time lowers soil pH and increases calcium solubility. In addition to ample soil calcium, sufficient leaching volume (from irrigation or rain) is required to move sodium below the root zone. Sites with excessive sodium require major modifications that can be expensive, and time consuming. Sodic soils are unsuitable for tomato production until effectively remediated.
Seed or seedling pests (for example, Symphylans) Plow and disc old crop, cover crop, or other plant material that can harbor pests.  
Pathogen, nematode or weed problems Soil solarization; deep plowing to destroy sclerotia.  
Weeds
  • Apply preplant herbicide in fall or just before planting.
  • Just be fore planting in San Joaquin Valley, preirrigate the field and cultivate germinating weeds.
  • Deep plow (9 to 10 inches) with a moldboard plow to reduce nightshade and nutsedge populations by burying seeds and tubers.
 

PUBLICATION

[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Tomato
UC ANR Publication 3470

General Information

W. T. Lanini, Weed Science/Plant Sciences, UC Davis
T. K. Hartz, Plant Sciences, UC Davis
R. M. Davis, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
C. J. Rivara, Calif. Tomato Res. Institute
E. M. Miyao, UC Cooperative Extension, Yolo Co.
F. G. Zalom, Entomology, UC Davis

Top of page


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /PMG/r783900411.html revised: January 8, 2014. Contact webmaster.