Agriculture: Tomato Pest Management Guidelines


This year-round IPM program covers the major pests of California tomatoes grown for processing.

About 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 runoff 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.

Text Updated: 12/13