Hand holding a cracked tomato
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Why Your Tomatoes Are Cracking And Splitting And How To Prevent It
Moisture fluctuations can make tomatoes expand and eventually crack, while uneven ripening and irregular growth can make tomato skin less elastic and more prone to splitting.
Understanding the genetic factors, environmental conditions, and cultivation practices that can cause tomatoes to crack and split will show you which preventative measures to take.
Water Consistently
Consistent moisture levels in the soil allow the roots to absorb water and nutrients effectively, helping the tomato’s skin retain elasticity.
The most effective way to water tomatoes is to do so deeply and infrequently. Soak them thoroughly once or twice a week to help the roots grow deep and remain stress-free.
Add Mulch
Mulch around the base of tomato plants creates a bar between the earth and the atmosphere, reducing water evaporation and keeping soil moisture levels consistent.
Mulch also acts as an insulator that keeps the ground cool. This keeps tomatoes from cracking due to overheating and preserves their warmth in colder areas to boost growth.
Moreover, mulch suppresses weed growth by blocking sunlight. Add 2 inches of mulch around your tomato plants to prevent weeds from competing with it for water, nutrients, and space.
Provide Shade
While tomatoes require sunlight for photosynthesis and development, intense heat and sunlight can cause rapid expansion of the fruit, putting strain on the skin.
A shade cloth can help filter the sunlight to reduce its intensity. Secure the cloth above the plants so it doesn’t directly touch the foliage to allow proper air circulation.
Place tall structures on the plants’ sun-facing side for a natural shade, or place the plants where they get morning sun and afternoon shade to protect them in the hottest hours.