Information On What Causes Tomatoes To Split And How To Prevent Tomato Cracking

Splitting And Cracking Tomatoes
tomato cracking
(Image credit: Ninel Roshchina)

Whenever someone plants a garden, one of the most popular plants to go into the soil are tomatoes. This is because everyone loves tomatoes. They are great in salads and sauces and even make a great gift. However, with these beautiful and tasty beauties comes a problem. Sometimes, right in the middle of thinking everything is alright with your crop, you'll find splitting tomatoes or tomato cracking. What causes tomatoes to split?

Why Do My Tomatoes Crack?

Sometimes, the fluctuation of temperatures during the spring can cause issues for newly growing tomato transplants. This is why it's so important to mulch your plants, either with organic mulch like wood chips or plastic. This mulch will also conserve moisture and even prevents disease from spreading. When it comes to mulch and tomatoes, red plastic mulch has shown to be the best mulch to help prevent tomato cracking. Sometimes, if you have a lot of rain after a spell of really dry weather, you'll find splitting tomatoes on your tomato plants. A split tomato problem is really caused by a lack of water. If you take away water, the tomatoes cannot stay lush and juicy, and the skin will crack just as your skin cracks if you do not have enough moisture. And when the tomatoes receive a large amount of water quickly after this, they fill with water and the skin bursts at the cracks like an overfilled water balloon.

How to Prevent Tomato Cracking

This split tomato problem is more than just an aesthetic problem. You'll find that through these cracks bacteria and fungus can be introduced into the fruit and cause them to rot or provides easy access to damaging pests. In order to prevent splitting tomatoes, make sure you water your tomato plants once a week with about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) of water. To keep tomato cracking to a minimum, be sure to keep your tomato plants watered evenly on a regular basis. Protect them from a severe drought in your absence by setting up a watering system on a timer. This way you can water your garden when you aren't home to do it and you won't have to deal with severe tomato cracking. It's as easy as that to solve a split tomato problem. Finally, be sure to fertilize your tomatoes according to the instructions on your tomato fertilizer or your garden center. Fertilizer is important to keep the soil healthy enough to help your plants produce as many tomatoes as possible. If you follow these rules, soon enough you will have plenty of unsplit tomatoes to enjoy and to share.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.