Issue: June 10, 2001


Twisted tomato plant

Question:

My tomato plant stem is growing all twisted. One is just laying on the ground all flat and twisted. What is wrong?

Answer:

I discussed your question with Dr. George Dickerson, NMSU Extension Horticulture Specialist (vegetable and small fruit crops). I had considered curly top virus as a cause of your problems, but Dr. Dickerson didn't think you would see that much twisting from curly top. He asked about fertilization. He specifically asked if a "weed and feed" fertilizer was accidently used in the garden or in the lawn nearby. Some herbicides used in combination with fertilizer can cause very obvious curling and twisting of tomato (and other) plant stems and leaves.

If accidental contamination by weed killer is likely, it may be best to remove the plant rather than hope it will manage to mature some fruits. This is because the herbicide is active inside the plant and may also be present in the tomato fruits. Watch for symptoms in other nearby vegetables.

You would also be wise to contact your local Cooperative Extension Service office for more information. If herbicide is not the culprit, your Extension Service Agent should be able to help you diagnose the real problem.

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Rose seed

Question:

I noticed that there are small fruits forming on my rose bush. Why haven't I seen little rose bushes coming up under the old rose bush if these seed are good? Can I plant the seeds? How do I need to treat them? Will they grow roses like the plant that produced them?

Answer:

Most people remove the rose hips (fruits) as soon as the flower fades to increase flowering. This prevents the rose plant from directing energy into the production of seeds instead of new flowers.

These seeds often have the ability to grow and produce a new rose plant, but the flowers may not be much like the parent. Most of the roses we grow (hybrid teas, floribundas, etc.) are hybrids. That means that there is a mixture of genetics from the mother and father plants. In vegetables, trees and shrubs, gardeners know that hybrid seeds do not produce plants like the parent that produced the seeds. The result may be better or worse but certainly different. If you wish to see what happens, you can plant the seeds.

The seeds will need a period of "stratification", that is a time of storage under moist, cool conditions. You can provide this by removing the mature seeds from the fruit, putting them in a plastic bag of moist compost, vermiculite, or potting soil. Place this in the refrigerator for about six weeks before planting the seeds in a pot with potting soil. Keep the newly produced plants in a greenhouse or sunny window through the winter, and plant them outside in the spring. In a year or sometimes several years, you will see the flowers produced by your seeds. Remember, the flowers may be very different from the plant from which you harvested the seeds.


Please join us on Southwest Yard & Garden, a weekly garden program made for gardeners in the Southwest, broadcast on KRWG-Las Cruces on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.; KENW-Portales on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.; and KNME-Albuquerque on Saturdays at 12:00 noon, and Fridays at 2:30 p.m.

NOTICE:

ALBUQUERQUE 2001 SPRING ROSE SHOW presented by the Albuquerque Rose Society on Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 at the Albuquerque Garden Center, 10120 Lomas Blvd., NE. Entries will be accepted from 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. The show is open to the public on Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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Send your gardening questions to Yard and Garden, ATTN: Dr. Curtis Smith NMSU Cooperative Extension Service 9301 Indian School Road, NE, Suite 112 Albuquerque, NM 87112

Curtis W. Smith, Ph.D., is an Extension Horticulture Specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator.

Please join us on Southwest Yard & Garden, a weekly garden program made for gardeners in the Southwest on: KNME-TV Albuquerque at 1 p.m. Sundays, KENW-TV Portales at 10 a.m. Saturdays, and KRWG-TV Las Cruces at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays (repeated at 11 p.m. Sundays and 1 p.m. Thursdays.)