tomato seedling wilts whenever i put it outside...???

srg215(6b nj)April 19, 2012

i've been hardening off some of my tomato seedlings and 2 of my best ones seem to always wilt when i put them outside (shade or sun). they come back after i bring them back inside, but why do they wilt like that outside?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sounds like they are rootbound in their containers.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 12:53PM
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srg215(6b nj)

so i should pot them up again? thanks for answering all my questions. with regards to a different question i asked & you answered, those tomato seedlings that have yellowing leaves (you said it's probably overwatering) are also not growing bigger. they are standing straight, not wilting or anything, but just seem stunted. what would cause this?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 1:17PM
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srg215(6b nj)

Dave...i really don't think they're rootbound. they are definitely not too big for the pot, and it's a peat pot. and they perk back up beautifully minutes after i bring them inside.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 2:31PM
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grow4free

I had the same kind of problem which seemed to be caused by watering them at cold temps (high 30s-low40s). It seemed to put them into shock. I'd put them in the shade and they'd perk up.

Comments said I was overwatering. But I kept watering them the same amount and just delayed watering until it was warmer and haven't had the problem.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 4:02PM
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bobb_2002(Z6 S.W. CT)

The problem could be related to dry windy weather; it's been bad in my area for the last month. Try making a windbreak out of a few stakes wrapped with plastic so you have an area protected from direct wind. Leave the top open so the plants don't overheat, and see if they look better in a couple of days. Also keeping the pots warm will encourage better root growth which will then give your leaves more water.
Bob B.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 6:23PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Ahh the old peat pot problems. Just one of many reasons why so many of us won't touch them. Peat pots wick water away from the plants so you have no way to tell if the plant is watered enough or if it is over-watered or if it is root bound. One clue is the soil pulls away from the side of the pot and the pot gets hard and then the roots can't permeate it.

Otherwise as Bob mentioned it may be wind effect or just too hot, too much direct sun. But "quick wilt with quick recover" is classic symptom of root bound plants so if the wind shield doesn't help I'd sure pull/peel one of them and check. You do know you need to peel off those pots before transplanting right?

You might want to do some research into peat pot problems for future reference.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:18PM
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srg215(6b nj)

thanks guys. is it worth it for me to transfer them into solo cups at this point when i'll be putting them in the ground in about 10 days? can i put them in the ground now?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 8:07PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

If your tomatoes have completed the hardening off process and the weather is warm enough, go ahead and plant them. Just be sure you tear the peat pot off the plant if the roots have not come through it yet. Sometimes they won't and that will definitly stunt their growth and production.

If you have the time and materials and might be delayed in putting them out (cold spell on the way?) then potting them up into solo cups with drainage holes.

Good luck!

Betsy

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardening Off and Physiological Changes

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:48PM
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monet_g

"is it worth it for me to transfer them into solo cups at this point when i'll be putting them in the ground in about 10 days?"

You'll be surprised at how much root growth can occur in 10 days at this stage of the game. I'd be inclined to go this route. Why take the chance in setting them back for a month or more with cold temps? We're so anxious to get them outside a few weeks early we forget to look at the big picture. They'll have 4-5 months outside when planted after the last frost date.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:45AM
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