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What To Do To Tree-tomatoes Affected By Nematodes

Your farm is your sanctuary, but it’s also home to some creatures. Root knot (nematodes) can be overwhelming to a tree-tomato plant if you’re unprepared. So read on and learn everything you need to know to help prevent these pests from becoming serious problems.

It takes a lot of work to go from seedling to slicing tree-tomato, but the job gets even tougher when you’ve got tree-tomatoes affected by nematodes. Tree-tomatoes root knot nematode is one of the most common tree-tomatoes problems in the garden, but you can still get great yields if you catch it early and implement a tree-tomatoes nematode prevention program for future plantings.

Nematodes in Tree-tomatoes

Tree tomato plant
A tree tomato tree affected by nematodes

Everybody knows about plant diseases and the bugs that can become serious pests, but fewer gardeners are familiar with plant parasitic nematodes in tree-tomatoes. Unlike other diseases and pests, root knot nematodes survive by feeding directly off the nutrients pumped through tree-tomatoes roots. They form galls that can reach up to an inch wide where they hide and reproduce, causing many symptoms that point to problems in infected plants’ transport systems. Yellowing plants, stunted growth and general decline are early symptoms, but unless your bed is heavily infected with nematodes, a large tree-tomato planting will only show these symptoms in a relative few plants. They typically appear in soils where tree-tomatoes and other root knot nematode host plants have been grown in the last three to five years, and populations increase the longer an area is used.

Tree-tomatoes Nematode Prevention

If you suspect your tree-tomatoes plants have nematodes, start by digging up a particularly weak plant. Roots that have a lot of unusual knobby growths are infected with these parasites. You can choose to pull those plants right away or attempt to limp them through the rest of the season. With great care and supplemental water and fertilizer, you can still harvest plenty of tree-tomatoes from a lightly infested plant, and even a serious infestation may yield some fruit if the nematodes attacked late in the plant’s life cycle. Once your harvest is complete, you’ll have to decide what to do about the infected bed. Crop rotation is a popular cure for many plant diseases, but because root knot nematode is so flexible, you may not find a fruit you’d like to grow that isn’t troubled by it. Many farmers with our help choose to plant grafted tree-tomatoes which are not affected by nematodes. If you decide to go this way, keep in mind that nematodes will still try to feed on grass and weeds, so it’s important to keep everything out of the bed.

Related content: Tips on how to get over 20Kgs/Tree from Tree-tomato farming

Solarization

Other options include adding valuable organic matter that helps support your tomatoes, using soil solarization to kill the nematodes with heat or fallowing the garden and rototillering it every two weeks to prevent weed establishment. After a bout with nematodes, you should choose nematode resistant tree-tomatoes to improve your chances of a heavy harvest.

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Earn more on tree tomato farming

There are very few farmers who grow tree tomatoes for the market. Tree tomatoes are easy to grow, resistant to diseases and in great demand. Tree tomato is a small, half woody plant with shallow roots. It grows to an average height of 3.5 – 5.0 m depending on the variety.

It produces an egg-shaped oval fruit. The fruit tree prefers well-drained soils and grows best in climates with long hours of sunlight. In hot and dry climates, the trees may require shade to maintain adequate moisture in the soil.

The tree tomato does not tolerate tightly compacted soil since it needs well-aerated soil. The soil must be fertile and light in texture and rich in organic matter. Good drainage is necessary since water logged soils can kill the plants. Tree tomatoes cannot survive in areas with prolonged drought. They must have ample water during the dry season.

The best way to retain moisture in a tree tomato plantation is to apply mulch, which also reduces weed growth. At fruit bearing stage, tree tomatoes need support to prevent branches from breaking off when laden with fruits. The trees can easily be blown over by the wind as they are shallow rooted.

Propagation: Tree tomatoes can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Seeds produce trees with more branches that are erect tree and ideal for sheltered locations. Cuttings develop into shorter bushy plants with low-lying branches, suitable for growing in areas prone to wind or areas without protection from wind. Transplanting can be done at 6 weeks.

Planting: Dig holes measuring   by  feet, put the top soil on one side and the subsoil on the other. The distance from one plant to the next should be 4 feet and space between one row and the next should be 5 feet. Mix one and a half wheelbarrow of well-prepared compost (chickens and pig manure are preferred) with two spadefuls of topsoil to plant the seedlings. Leave a shallow depression in every plant for placing the mulching material – only 1 feet of the tree tomato seedling should be buried while planting just enough to cover the root hairs. Selection of planting site is very important; tree tomatoes do well when planted on land that has not had any crop for two or three seasons. An acre can accommodate about 1200 trees.

Fertilization: To maintain a healthy growth, tree tomatoes require continuous fertilization. Mix farmyard manure with water and apply as slurry and apply in the shallow depression around the plant once every two months.

Disease and pest control: Tree tomato is fairly resistant to most diseases and pests. However, the tree is prone to powdery mildew, which causes the leaves to fall off. Application of copper oxychloride (allowed in organic farming) can control the disease. Neem extracts can also be used to control the disease. The main pests that attack the tree include the aphids, thrips whiteflies and nematodes. Pests can be prevented by continuous application of plant extracts (chilies, African marigold, garlic, neem) at least three times a week. Good field sanitation also controls pests and diseases.

Related Post: Amazing health benefits of tree-tomato

Seedlings are pruned back the first year after planting to a height of 3 to 4 feet (0.9- 1.2m) to encourage branching. In plantations, tree tomatoes reach a height of not more than 1.50m. Annual pruning thereafter is advisable to eliminate branches that are no longer fruiting. New shoots close to the main branches should be allowed to grow so that the tree does not develop a broad top with fruits on the outer edges, which are prone to wind damage.

Varieties: The main varieties grown in Kenya are the Goldmine, Inca red, Rothamer, Solid gold and Ruby red. New varieties being introduced into the country give better yields and a shorter growing period. With grafted tree tomato one can achieve even a higher production.

Yield: New varieties can produce up to 800 fruits per tree every year under good management. The current price for one fruit is Ksh.10.