Dfitchtx
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Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:22 am
Location: Temple, TX

pH and wilt

My pH is high (8.1) and my N is very low. Can this cause stress symptoms on tomatos similar to those outward symptoms that are evident with Wilt (Fusarium)?

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

high pH and tomatoes

Since no one else has responded yet, I'll do what I can. The high pH is not good for tomato plants which prefer slightly acid soil and tolerate neutral. At that high of a pH some nutrients become pretty much unavailable to the plant, including iron, manganese, zinc, copper and cobalt and calcium and magnesium to a lesser degree. I know that lack of iron tends to cause yellowing and lack of calcium is one source of stress to the plant, and is associated with blossom end rot. Whether this would cause fusarium wilt like symptoms is beyond my "scope of practice," but maybe someone else will jump in here now.

You can mix peat moss into your soil to help bring the pH down. Or especially since your soil is also low in nitrogen, look for fertilizer that's made for azaleas and other acid lovers, helps fertilize and acidify.

One way to find out if the high pH and low nitrogen is causing the problem is to fix those things and see if the problem goes away!

Dfitchtx
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Location: Temple, TX

High pH and low N

Thank you for the response. Your information is in line with other research I've been able to do. My plan at this time is to pile on the chicken manure compost (high in N and low in P), cotton hull mulch (as an alternative to peat) and some 21-0-0 for good measure. Hopefully all will be in time to set my winter garden crop. One nice thing about gardening in TX is that we can go at it 12 months of the year.

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rainbowgardener
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tomatoes and nitrogen

Well if you know your soil is very low in nitrogen, you probably do want to build it up. But depending on what phase your plants are in, you don't want to overdo it. Once the plant is well established and well grown, excess nitrogen stimulates more stem and leaf growth and mitigates against fruit production. If you are using artificial fertilizers, they usually recommend something like 10-10-10. If you are already adding composted chicken manure, you might want to do the 10-10-10 not the 21-0-0, unless your tomato plants are babies.

Dfitchtx
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Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:22 am
Location: Temple, TX

Tomatoes and Nitrogen

Actually the garden is now empty of all plant life....even the weeds are dying. I had a soil sample done. That's how I know the pH. I also found out the N if very low while P,K, Sulphur, Magnesium and Calcium are high. I believe as you stated the high pH is preventing the elements from being useful to the plants. This used to be a landscape area. I plowed down the cedar mulch, hence the low N. At this point I am jsut trying to get the soil in shape for the winter crops.

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