WSU Extension Q&A: Stink bugs culprit behind tomato blotches

August 22, 2013 

Q. I have yellow blotches on my tomatoes, and there is a white area inside the tomato. What causes this problem?

A. The likely culprit for this damage is stink bugs. They damage fruit by sucking on plant juices. Other damage from stink bugs can be wilting to the tips of eggplant, potato and tomato foliage. Keeping your garden and surrounding area free of weeds will help control the bugs.

Q. Last year, all the pears fell off my tree. A friend said I should I have picked them sooner. What do you think?

A. Pears should be picked when they are still hard. They will ripen more after they are picked. Once they are on the counter, you can check the neck for ripeness. When you press gently on the neck of the pear and it is slightly soft, it is ripe.

Q. I have a large clump of daylilies that have outgrown its spot. When can I dig up, divide and transplant them to a new area in my garden?

A. Clumps should be dug in the late summer immediately after flowering, or early fall, at least six weeks before the first hard frost (Oct. 1-15 for our area). Dig the entire clump, carefully avoiding damage to the tuberous roots. Remove as much soil from the clump as you can and divide the individual plants, called fans, by just pulling them apart. If they resist, a sharp knife can be used to carefully cut them apart. Each fan can be planted individually to the same depth as they were previously growing. Plant them about 18 to 36 inches apart. The green leaves may be cut back to about 10 inches to a foot, or about half their original height. After replanting, keep the soil around the plant evenly moist this fall and next spring.

Q. If I need to have my soil or feed tested, who should I call?

A. Washington State University Extension in Puyallup maintains a searchable website that contains names and contact information for Analytical Laboratories and Consultants Serving Agriculture in the Northwest. It can be found at:

-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.

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