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Common Household Remedies Request

What the heck is going on with this tomato?

1. is where I tied the tomato to a stake. However, I foolishly did not go out and add more ties higher up the plant when there were two very heavy days of rain, and the stem broke under the weight, right above the string. However, the stem above the break continues prolific with foliage and flowers, so go figure.

2. shows weird white shark-fin like something-or-others extruding from the stem. WTF?

3. shows some sort of lesion at the base of the plant. (Sorry it's cut in two by shadow.) WTF?

As a side note, I removed a few blighted leaves in the area of "2.," before I thought of taking this picture. Since there's no blight anywhere else, not a bit of it, I take that as a sign that the plant was weaker here, and so vulnerable.


wounded_tomato.jpg244.21 KB
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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Just at a guess, I'd say those shaggy thingies are adventitious roots. The term for ad hoc roots produced after the plant is established. With tomatoes, it implies the plant is having a hard time getting water / nutrients up to the rest of the plant. That's not too surprising, given that black lesion.

You could air layer (tie some rooting medium around those secondary roots) and then once it's formed healthy new roots, re plant. That assumes you want to go to the trouble of saving the plant. It may well last long enough to produce some tomatoes for you as is. Tomatoes are tough.

Submitted by lambert on

What I did, inspired by your comment, even if it wasn't strictly your comment, was to cover the plant with earth all the way up to the "adventitious roots," including the scar, and then sheet mulch it. Might as well give those roots something to root into, I thought.

The plant is worth saving, if only because it's tried so hard; there's full, strong vine growing sunward to the left of the break.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

A good idea. That's also nipperdad's suggestion I see. A lot more practical than mine.

Nothing quite like tomatoes straight from the garden. I hope they continue doing their thing!

Submitted by Dromaius on

Tomatoes are definitely tough. However, one of the things they can't fight well is fungal diseases. Two main sources of tomato fungal disease are chronically overwet soil and planting the tomatoes over and over again in the same spot so that the disease stays in the soil and really takes hold.

Yeah, I agree that adventitious root formation is likely due to whatever is affecting that stem. I will argue it's possible/likely some sort of pest or fungus. My advice? Take the paper mulch out of the tomato part of the garden. The soil needs "to breathe" to prevent fungal growth. Right now, it's been wearing wet socks all summer and it has a bad case of "athlete's roots". The soil needs to dry out to a decent degree every day to prevent disease.

Also, I would suggest trying to help those adventitious roots form into "real" roots in case that stem lesion cuts off circulation to the plant altogether. A simple way to do this is to unstake the plant. Let it fall over (gently if possible) and then bury those roots in soil. Water the soil around the stems every day to make sure the roots continue to form. The rest of the plant will start "training" to the light. Stake the part that trains to the light so that the tomato fruit will be off the ground. Or if you have trouble staking the "fallen over" plant, pile straw under the plant so the tomatoes grow on something other than bare soil.

Whatever you do, don't compost those plants in the fall so you avoid carrying the disease in the compost. Also don't replant tomatoes in that spot next year....

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Submitted by Dromaius on

A shot of some of my "kids". Grown from seed, which is the only way I'll do it these days. Sadly I have neglected to tie up parts and my canine keeps stepping on them so I have some unrecoverably bruised blooms laying on the deck. I'll get to tying things up eventually ;-).

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nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Ah, tomatoes! Probably the most problematic fruit in the garden.

The "Oops!" shouldn't be all that big a problem as you still have a couple of stems to carry on with. Just leave it and hope for new buds.

The "weird" are just some buttress roots. You could mound up the soil around them to let them grow and to provide more nutrition for the plant, or you could prune off a limb and plant it elsewhere for another plant, or you could just leave it alone. Generally, at the initial planting, one takes off all but the topknot of leaves, plant the tomato either horizontally in a trench or deeply and allow all of those roots to grow. Lots of ways to utilize them. Tomatoes are one of the few garden plants that will not rot if the crown is covered precisely because of those roots.

Not sure what the "ick" is. If they are NOT wet, they look like they could be lesions from damage at the initial planting that has calloused over and are not a problem. However, it looks like you have several on your other stems as well. If they ARE wet it would be a good idea to dust with garden sulphur for fungus.....if it is bacterial you are just SOL; you should rip the plant out and either burn it or put it in the trash to be taken very far away so that it will not affect the others.

Early blight is characterized by the lower leaves turning yellow and dropping off, if you had a target spot on them that would be conclusive. I would just continue to pick them and throw them in the trash....or in the woods...anywhere you will never plant tomatoes. It is caused by soil splash, and your mulch looks sufficient to prevent any further problems with that.