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Monday, June 13, 2011

How to Repair Damaged Tomato Stems: Split From A Storm

The first rule is to make sure you tend your tomatoes before the damage occurs. I was slow getting to my growing tomatoes and I let them get a bit to big. A thunderstorm came and the winds whipped through them. This is how you can repair a split stem. Tomatoes are resilient. They heal well.

The Split Stem
This is my 'Polish Linguisa' variety. It is an heirloom paste tomato that grows large fruits. It actually has about 20 fruit on it right now. You can see the split stem.

Straight Wettable Sulfur Dust on the Wound in Dry Form
I used the wettable sulfur I use for my spray as a dust and dusted the wound. If you don't have dust that is fine. It is a precaution for disease but it is not needed.

A Strong Support to Tie off the Wound at the End
The first stake goes right next to the wound. It will be tied off to the stake after I add another stake for the upper support.  It is best to fix the wound from top down. This way the weight of the upper growth doesn't snap the stem again. This stake went in now because it is easier to place it in the ground first.

Added a Six Foot Bamboo Stake for Support
The stake will be used only for the broken stem. It has to be tall enough to support the entire stem. 

The Damage Stem is Lifted and Tied High
The damage stem is lifted up to the bamboo stake and tied up high. Tie it up high first and work your way down with additional ties for support as needed. It should be tied in a way that the split stem closes. The stakes are supports to both brace the stem and close the split. If you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, you can see the split is closed.

Now that the Top is Tied, Tie the Bottom
After you secure the stem to the upper part of the bamboo support, you can tie off the bottom to the first stake that was put in the ground. That will finish the support of the entire stem and it will withstand wind and motion. The split doesn't typically grow back together but this method prevents it from splitting further. The stem will continue to grow perfectly fine.

The Finished Repair and Below is the Original Damage
Before the Repair

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