Tomatoes plants’ stems are susceptible to breakage due to various factors. Some of these contributing factors include heavy rains, strong wind, and poor handling.
Since the stem provides support and offers a path through which water and minerals are transported to the leaves for it to blossom, it is unacceptable to tolerate broken stems and branches.
Are you worried about losing that part of the tomato? Read this article to the end and get some quality tips on how you can repair and what to do if the damage is beyond repair.
How do you fix a broken tomato?
There are two ways to fix broken tomatoes. You can fix a broken tomato by supporting it using horticultural tape and a tomato trellis or cage so the nutrient supply continues and it can carry fruits in the future. The second method involves using a splint to fix the tomato plant. Place the splint or stick against the break and wrap it with horticultural tape. If the damage is severe, it is best to do away with that part by cutting it off completely.
Two Primary Methods For Fixing Broken Tomato
The horticultural tape repair
The first step is to use a tomato cage or trellis to offer support to the broken part.
These two materials take off the weight from any fruits weighing the branch down, facilitating its breakage.
Now that the branch is upward supported, bend the branch back to its original position and wrap the tape around the broken part, starting 1 inch below the break and 1 inch above the broken part.
This measurement ensures robust support to the damaged area.
Ensure you wrap it tight but not too tight as you can crush the branch. If you don’t have that type of tape, a piece of electric tape will do. Just make sure to tie gently.
The horticultural tapes are recommended as they are made of stretchy, non-adhesive plastic materials.
You can also read up on the proper way of tying tomato plants for a thorough explanation on this topic.
Use splint fix
The use of the splint is another method you can use to fix broken branches. For plantlets that have just been transplanted from a nursery and are broken, you can use small sticks like a toothpick.
However, for a mature tomato plant, use craft sticks like those for the ice creams.
The splint will provide extra support for the long term and increase the plant’s ability to withstand wind. This will enable the branch to successfully bear fruits.
The process involves placing the sticks against the break and wrapping them with the horticultural tape. The purpose of the tape is to secure and not to tighten.
What To Do If The Branch Is Broken Beyond Repair
If the tomato branch cannot be repaired with the above two strategies, cut it.
If you notice the branch above the cut is wilting and turning yellow, the best way to save it is by cutting it off the main stem. However, it requires skills and not just removing with your hand or using any tool.
How do you prune a damaged part of the tomato?
First, use a clean sharp knife or a garden clipper that’s been disinfected. The purpose of disinfectants is to protect the injured part from developing infections.
Cut the broken part and the undamaged leaf node on the plant. The remaining healthy part of tomatoes will develop fuller branching.
What to do with the Cut Branch
For this unrepairable branch, all is not lost. It might not have been saved to be part of the mother plant, but it can be propagated to be the mother plant.
All you need is to properly use soil or water.
First, make sure your soil moist, and then place the end of the broken stem into the soil.
Ensure that the soil remains moist, and after three to four weeks, you will start to notice new roots. This is the onset of plant growth.
The leaves will also start to sprout.
If you decide to use water, place clean water in a clear jar and fit it at the end of the broken stem into the glass. Wait for few weeks, and you will start to notice roots development.
In both cases, after roots have developed, you can either place them in a pot or a ready garden if your tomato plant had grown green fruits when it broke, harvest and place them in a banana pile under the sun to facilitate ripening.
Tools You Need To Repair A Broken Tomato
- Horticultural tape
- Stakes like toothpick or bamboo BBQ skewers
Why Tomato Branches Break
Too many fruits in a single branch
When a tomato plant produces many fruits on one branch, the likelihood of that branch breaking is very high.
The weight of these fruits can weigh the branch down until it detaches from the branch.
There are numerous stem diseases, that when they attach the tomato, the likelihood of survival is greatly minimized.
If your tomato gets attached to diseases like stem rot, unless they are immediately sprayed with necessary chemicals, the branch will die, and there will be no repair.
Rain is necessary to keep the soil moist. However, excessive rain can break the tomato branches and make holes in the leaves.
Tomatoes are fragile and can easily break. During weeding, you may break some branches if you are not careful.
In this regard, it is essential to weed carefully to minimize damaging the plants.
How to Protect Tomato Plants from Breaking
While broken tomato parts are recoverable, the process is tedious and time-consuming. Preventing them from breaking can be a better strategy to saving your tomatoes.
There are three effective strategies: staking, caging, and tying them to a fence or trellises.
Immediately your plant starts producing fruits, and you can use any of these three strategies to offer additional support.
This process involves the use of strong sticks that are a little bit taller than the tomato plants. Drill the stakes into the soil around the plant for maximum support on all sides.
In this case, the plant has no chance of bending on one side.
Caging involves building a cage-like structure with wire or bamboo sticks around the tomato plant. This shields the tomato plants from strong wind and rain that can damage them.
Tying to a Trellis or Fence
The use of trellises or fences is common for tall tomatoes. It involves using a thread to tie the tip of the tomato plant to the fence.
This process helps the plant to remain straight up even when the fruits are weighing down.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.