Watering Tomatoes

About watering tomatoes properly. Tomato watering frequency. How to water tomato plants. Symptoms of over watering. Tomato plant watering needs.

drio irrigation kit for containers

Container Drip Watering Kit with AntiSyphon

Tomato watering is an important part of tomato plant care. If you over water tomato plants, their roots will suffocate and rot away. But the right amount of water applied the right way will cause tomatoes in pots and in the ground to grow lushly.

Tomato Watering Frequency

When growing tomatoes in pots expect to water them daily during high summer. A hanging tomato will dry out even more quickly than a tomato growing in a container on the ground.

What you want to do is water tomatoes in containers enough to keep the soil barely moist at all times.

If your potted tomatoes dry out too much this year, try mixing water crystals into the potting mix before you plant them next season.

In ground plants can probably be watered every other day unless there is a heat wave. Again, keep the soil just barely moist.

How to Water Tomatoes

Don't make the mistake of watering tomato plants in mid afternoon. Early morning is the best time. If you can't manage to get out into the tomato patch then, water them in late afternoon.

You want to avoid getting cold water on hot tomato leaves. The sun shining on the water drops will burn the foliage.

It's a good idea to mulch the tomato garden. A thick layer of mulch will keep soil from splashing onto the plants when it rains or when you water them. This keeps soil-borne tomato diseases like tomato blight in the soil and off your plants.

Drip irrigation is the best way of watering tomato plants. Using a garden hose would be the next best way. Only don't spray the plants, lay the hose on the ground beneath them.

Automatic watering tomatoes with a sprinkler system is the least beneficial way as it wets the foliage which can contribute to the spread of tomato plant diseases.

Water them deeply and then not again until the top 2 inches of soil begins to dry. Watering tomato plants too shallowly encourages the roots to stay too near the surface. Shallowly rooted plants may topple during a wind storm.

Tomato Watering Tray

Tomato & Pepper Automator Trays

This is a plastic tray that fits around the stem of the tomato plant and serves to funnel water and liquid tomato fertilizer directly to the roots.

A tomato watering tray benefits plants in 2 ways:

  1. It prevents run off so all the water ends up in the soil around the plant's roots.
  2. It forms a barrier between the lower portion of the plant and the soil which prevents disease organisms from splashing onto the foliage.

Do Not Over Water Tomato Plants

Achla VCC01 Scuttle Watering Can  Antique Wash

Achla VCC01 Scuttle Watering Can Antique Wash

If you give tomato plants too much water they will wilt. This is confusing because this is what the plants will do if they get too dry.

What happens all too often is the gardener waters the plant more, thinking it is drought stressed.

It is normal for tomato vines to wilt during the middle of a hot summer day. Check them the next morning. If they are not still drooping, there is enough moisture in the soil.

If they are still wilted, stick your finger about two inches into the soil. If it feels dry that far down, it's time to water.

Be especially careful not to give tomato seedlings too much water. It can lead to damping off.

Let the plants go drier as the fruit ripens. Too much water now will dilute the flavor.

Symptoms of Over Watering Tomatoes

Over watered tomato plants can not take up iron. The leaves will start coming in pale green or yellow. The lower leaves will fall off and the plants will grow and fruit poorly.

Tomato Growing Guide:

How to Stake Tomatoes: tomato supports, trellises and ladders.

Pruning Tomato Plants: why and how.

Pear Tomatoes: red and yellow heritage tomato plants.

How to Grow Tomatoes in pots and containers.

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