3 Answers to the Question, "What's Wrong With My Tomato Plant?"

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This time of the year you’re either watching your tomatoes to ripen on the vine, or you’re wondering what’s wrong with your tomato. This short video from the University of Illinois Extension covers a couple of problems you may be experiencing with your tomatoes.

Watch What’s Wrong with My Tomato Plant

1. Yellowing Leaves

As explained in the video, yellowing and discolored leaves where the veins are still green is a sign of either a phosphorous or calcium deficiency.

2. Container Tomatoes That are Dying

Container grown tomatoes that have stems that are withering indicate that the plant is not getting enough water. The roots are drying out and dying and as a result the upper parts of the plant are starting to die back.

3. Splitting Fruit

Like the foliage that’s dying back, splitting tomato fruit is a sign of uneven watering. As the fruit is ripening if the plant receives too much water the skin will split because the fruit’s skin can no longer expand.

Fixing Your Tomato Problems

If you’re experiencing any of these problems with your tomato plants there’s still a chance to salvage a tomato harvest this year. Fix your tomato plant’s deficiencies by feeding it with a fertilizer designed specifically for tomatoes.

Water regularly (and evenly) to keep your container-grown tomatoes from drying out to the point of death. If the soil has dried out: water slowly and evenly until the soil is saturated with water. You can stick your finger an inch down into the soil and if it is still dry water it some more. Mulching your containers will help with evaporation and you’ll have more time to water before the soil dries out completely.

Splitting fruit is more of an aesthetic problem, but one that will be minimized when you’re watering evenly and not waiting for your soil to dry out completely before watering. Another problem with tomatoes this time of year that is not covered in the video is blossom-end rot. It starts as a small tan-colored blemish that soon turns into what looks like a sore. It's not a disease, but a calcium deficiency in the fruit as it is developing.

With some attention to your plants and a little luck you’ll still be able to harvest some home grown tomatoes this fall.

How are the tomatoes doing in your garden? Are you swimming in fruit? Wondering what you did wrong?

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Tags: Fruits & Vegetables | Gardening | Tomatoes