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Overwatered Tomatoes: Signs to Look Out For & How to Fix It

Overwatered Tomatoes: Signs to Look Out For & How to Fix It

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Tomatoes are a very healthy addition to your lush garden. You can plant them in pots, containers, or directly in the ground.

And just like all fruit, tomatoes need lots of sunshine and water. So this means that you have to keep their earth nice and moist. 

But before you get overenthusiastic about watering your tomatoes, you need to know about the dangers of overwatering.

And recognizing the symptoms of overwatering early is crucial when it comes to growing tomato plants. 

So, if you think your tomato plant is showing signs of being overwaterd, then please read on.


How does an overwatered tomato plant look like?

An overwatered tomato plant will look dull and depressed. On top of this, it might have yellowing leaves that’ll eventually turn brown around the edges. The fruits of an overwatered tomato will look cracked. And in severe cases of overwatering, a tomato plant will wilt.


Symptoms of an Overwatered Tomato

When a tomato plant is overwatered then it won’t be able to absorb nutrients properly. If the earth is soggy, this also depletes the oxygen and your plant can suffocate. 

So the first sign that something isn’t right with your tomatoes watering schedule, will be if your plant starts to look a bit sad and dull.

Its leaves will start turning yellow and eventually, they will fall off. 

In some cases, an overwatered tomato plant will develop edema which appears as white spots or blisters on its leaves.

These are caused when the plant has absorbed too much water. With tomato plants, edema is usually found on the lower leaves.

If your plant is fruiting then the fruit tends to split open if it’s being overwatered. And too much water will make the fruit taste bland.

Sometimes tomatoes will wilt during the hottest part of the day but if the wilting continues after the sun has gone down then this can be a sign of overwatering.

Wilting is a common symptom of underwatering too. So to tell if your tomato is wilting from over or underwatering then feel its leaves and soil.

The wilted leaves on a dehydrated plant will feel dry and crispy. Whereas the wilted leaves of an overwatered tomato will feel soft.

Next, put your finger deep into your plant’s soil. For plants in the ground, dig deeper into the earth.

If the earth is dry and your tomato is wilting then it’s being underwatered and you need to give it a drink. 

However, if the soil’s soggy and your tomato’s wilting, most likely overwatering is causing the problem.

And unfortunately, wilting is a common symptom of root rot which is a fungal disease that can be fatal to tomato plants.


How to Save an Overwatered Tomato

If you think your tomato has been overwatered then the first thing you must do is stop watering it. Let your tomato dry out before you water it again. 

If your plants are in pots or containers then move them to a warm sunny spot to help them dry out. 

Or if your tomatoes are in the ground then you can aerate the soil to help them dry. You can do this by spiking the ground around your plant with a fork or a special aeration tool.

In mild cases, this will be enough to rectify an overwatering problem. However, if you suspect root rot then you need to take a look at your plant’s roots.

You can do this by removing your plant from its pot or by digging into its earth. If you discover brown, smelly roots then this is a sure of root rot. 

If your plant has root rot then you need to remove all of the soil from its roots. For tomatoes in the ground, you’ll have to dig them up to do this.

But be careful to keep the main root ball intact.

Once you’ve exposed the roots, you need to cut off the affected ones with sterile clippers. And once you’ve removed the sick roots you need to re-plant your tomato.

If it’s going back into the earth, make sure that you don’t put it back into the same place. This is because the surrounding soil will be affected by root rot fungus.

If your tomato is going back into a container or pot then you must sterilize the pot to prevent reinfection.


Tomato Watering Tips

To help you prevent overwatering problems in the future, you need to get your watering schedule and your tomatoes environment just right.

So an important thing to know is that tomatoes need a lot of sun, between six and 10 hours each day.

A south-facing window in the house or spot in the garden is ideal for tomato plants. 

If tomatoes don’t get enough sun, there’s a chance that their soil won’t dry out properly.

Next, you should aim to water your tomatoes first thing in the morning. If you water in the evening there’s a chance their leaves will be wet overnight. And this is bad for tomato plants.

And when it comes to choosing your growing medium, then bear in mind that tomatoes like loamy, moisture-retaining yet well-draining soil.

So a peat-based compost is perfect for their moisture requirements.

Generally, tomatoes in pots or containers need more moisture than those planted directly in the ground. This is because moisture evaporates quicker from pots. 

And it’s worth noting that seedlings and young tomatoes need constantly wet soil. So this means that younger tomatoes need more water than the more mature ones.

Finally, you should never water your tomatoes when the topsoil is still wet. Instead, wait until the top one or two inches has dried out before watering your tomato again.

And if you live in an area with lots of rainfall you should consider protecting your tomatoes with a plastic sheet during heavy rain.


Frequently Asked Questions About Overwatered Tomato


What’s the best watering schedule for your tomato plants?

This all depends on the plant’s size and its growing environment. Container-grown tomatoes need more water than soil-grown ones. If you’re living somewhere with a hot climate, your plants might need water every day. But in cooler climates, with lots of rainfall, you may only have to water them once a week.


How can I tell when my tomato needs water?

You can tell if your tomato needs water by sticking your finger into its soil. If the soil’s damp, don’t water your tomato. If the top two inches of the soil are dry, you need to give your tomato a drink.