Question of the Week: May 27, 2021

“How can my tomato plants be wilted after all this rain?”

Tomato plants’ roots are sensitive to over-watering, specifically, to waterlogged soils. When they go through a week or two of cloudy, rainy weather, they are likely to struggle when the sun comes out and heats up their leaves. (I alluded to that last week here as the same thing was happening to my oakleaf hydrangeas.)

This photo was posted by Cindy F. of Mansfield to my Facebook page earlier this week. It has rained almost non-stop for 10 days in DFW. You can see the tomato plant, and you can see the sunshine. And you can certainly see the wilting.

Even worse, if tomatoes are planted in ground-level beds in clay soils, it’s easy for them to become waterlogged, with water in the soil driving all of the oxygen out of their root areas.

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Most plants would eventually die in those circumstances. Tomato plants are at the top of that list. They are extremely sensitive and they die more quickly. That’s why it’s always best to plant tomatoes in raised beds so that excess rainfall can drain away from their roots quickly and let much-needed oxygen back in.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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