The ultimate goal of staking is to hold the weight of the Tomato fruits and keep the vines off from the ground.
It is also proven to improve the overall quality and health of your Tomatoes.
Stakes can support any sized Tomato garden. You can even use them for potted Tomatoes to save space.
There are several ways to stake a Tomato plant, and this article shares key points about staking.
How to Stake Tomato Plants
If you are using store-bought circular stakes for your tomato plants, simply insert them in soil and tie the vines with the grids. The same process applies to homemade stakes. Make sure you stake the plant when it’s young and continue adding new stakes as it grows.
Tomato Staking Basics
Staking Determinate Tomatoes
These Tomatoes have a compact growing habit, so staking them is easier compared to Indeterminate Tomatoes.
They’re also low-maintenance plants in the pruning department
We already know that these Tomatoes will reach a predefined maximum size during a certain time period.
You can either buy a Tomato cage or use stakes for Determinate Tomatoes; both work great.
Make sure you install the support when the Tomato plant is young because it will cover most of the support during growth, and you will not have to untie it at several places.
Staking young Tomato plants can also prevent root damage.
Staking Indeterminate Tomatoes
It is important to train your Indeterminate Tomatoes for staking while they are young as this will allow you to better control their growth.
If the maximum height for your plant is 4 ft (1.2 m) or less, you should tie it to stakes once it reaches 12 inches (3.6 m). Most growers opt for a wooden stake or bamboo can for such Tomato plants.
If your Tomato plant is going to reach a maximum height of 4 ft (1.2 m) or more, you have to go for sturdy support like a trellis or Tomato cage.
You can also do both just like how I do it. Simply create a circular cage using wire and secure the plant with two or more wooden stakes.
Most varieties need at least a 7 ft (2.1m) high stake. Choose a material that’s sturdy enough to bear the plant’s weight when it gets heavy with fruits.
To install the stakes, find a location that is at least 5 inches away from the plant to avoid damaging the root zone. Bury the stake about 15 inches deep in the ground.
As the vines and foliage multiply through the growing season, keep tying the new growth to the stake. Regularly prune suckers to avoid burdening the Tomato stake.
Staking Row Tomatoes
If your Tomatoes are growing in rows, you should use the Florida weave method for staking. Follow the steps given below to stake row Tomatoes.
The first step is to insert a 4-5 ft long stake in the soil between each plant in the row. Tie a fastener (mostly twine) about 8 inches above the soil surface.
Now cross the twine in between Tomatoes in a pattern that creates an eight-figure. Bring the thread or twine back to the first stake to support the plants.
As the tomatoes grow in height, add twines at 12 inches intervals.
Tips for Staking Tomatoes
- You will have to use a fastener to secure the Tomato vines or branches with the stake. Avoid using sharp materials such as wires because they can damage the vines. I would highly recommend fabric strips since they are soft.
- You can make strips from an old T-shirt. Some growers tie the branches to the stake with natural twine.
- Make sure the Tomato vines are tied loosely. Securing them very tightly can damage the foliage and the vines themselves.
- If you are tying a flowering stem, make sure you tie it an inch or two above to avoid cutting the vine. Usually, the stem becomes heavy after it grows fruits, so there is a high chance of breaking.
- Whether you are using a Tomato cage or stake, fasteners are used in the same manner for both. You should use a fastener every 6 or 8 inches of the vine length.
- If you compare caging and staking, the latter is less expensive, but it requires extra care while tying the vines.
- One end of the stake should be pointy to allow it to penetrate the soil. If your stake doesn’t have a pointy end, you can create it yourself.
- Choose a stake that is tall enough to support the maximum size of the Tomato plant.
- You can create a trellis using rows of stakes and twines running through them horizontally. Stake sizes will vary according to the size of your Tomato plant.
- Single stems can be trained using a single stake method. For multiple stems, you can use a trellis or cage.
How Staking Help Tomato Plants
Staking is beneficial for both Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes because it keeps the branch straight.
Some gardeners simply stake Tomato crops for aesthetics because they do not like Tomato vines scattered on the ground.
While others do this to save space in their garden, but there are other reasons behind staking.
- The soil stays wet for several hours after watering, so the leaves and fruits can rot if they are kept on a wet surface for too long. Staking raises the foliage and fruit away from the soil surface.
- You can protect the foliage and fruit from several diseases and fungus that might be transmitted via direct contact with the soil. Even the pests have easy access to the fruit and can damage the Tomato plants growing on the ground.
- Staking forces your Tomato plant to have vertical growth, and based on my experience, vertical crops are easier to water and prune.
- You can also avoid broken stems once your plant is loaded with Tomatoes. You can easily access all parts of the plant, which makes it easier to check your plant for issues like bugs or pest infestations.
Staking techniques vary on the tomato variety you’re growing.
You can go for regular stakes, cages, or strings. Commonly used methods include caging or stakes.
Cages are convenient to install and maintain, but they have difficulty in supporting a mature Tomato plant with multiple fruits.
Bamboo, wood, or plastic stakes can better support any Tomato variety, and they are easy to install.
However, they require more maintenance because you have to regularly check and tie the vines as they grow.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Stake Tomato Plants
Why do vertically stacked Tomatoes need more water than those growing horizontally on the ground?
The Tomatoes growing vertically will require more water because they do not have roots buried in the soil for moisture absorption.
When should you start training the Tomatoes for staking?
Tomato plants should be trained to grow on support when they are young. The ideal time is one month after transplanting.
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.