Tomato Seedlings and growth issues.

Drakemoore(8 - FL)April 8, 2013

So, first time growing tomatoes since youth. In any case I've been having a problem in regards to tomatoes which are about 2.5 weeks since sowing.

A small percentage of the seedlings have a habit of keeling over, and the stem is almost as if you tied a rubber band around it and shrunk it in tightly. They basically snap in half, but they're still physically attached into the ground, and then die off about 2-3 days later.

Haven't lost enough of them to be a problem since it's only usually 10 plants out of maybe 400.

My curiosity is, why does this happen to tomatoes out of all the other plants that I've sown? Do they need stake support at such a early stage?

This happens to both tomatoes in flats as well as directly in the soil, and seems to happen regardless of soil moisture.

My only thought is that the stem of tomatoes is just that weak early on and they possibly grow upward more than they should at first.

So far I've mostly just been mounding up dirt around them to support them but I'm thinking of trenching future tomatoes if this is going to be a problem.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Sounds like they are "damping off." Like you say 10 of 400 isn't a major problem, but maybe you could examine your methods. ie. Type of starting mix, watering, fertilizing, etc. The only time I had damping off problems I could swear I was doing nothing wrong, and it turns out I was overfertilizing the seedlings and killing them. There might be something about damping off in the FAQ's but not sure.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

They basically snap in half, but they're still physically attached into the ground, and then die off about 2-3 days later.

%%%%%

I don't think it's damping off b'c that's seen where the stem meets the artificial mix at the soil line as a brown constricted area and seedlings keel over and it's RIP.

There was a time when either gnats of some small insects did chew the stems on mine, but not at the soil line.

Do you see any kinds of small critters that might be doing that?

Carolyn

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Drakemoore(8 - FL)

Don't see any small critters whatsoever.

Will say that I forgot to mention that I have three varieties of tomatoes going out of the 400.

Ace 55, Cherokee Purple and Beefsteak.

Nearly all of the failures have been in Beefsteak, Perhaps so high as 90% with one or two in the others.

Might be a piece of the puzzle there, but at this stage of plant development I wouldn't suspect that it would make this much of a difference.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bets(z6A S ID)

Not to argue with Carolyn, but damping off came to my mind immediately when I read "the stem is almost as if you tied a rubber band around it and shrunk it in tightly."

Just in case, take a look at the link below and see if this looks like what is happening to your seedlings. It has been years since I've had any damping off, so I don't have my own picture of the problem. I found this one by Googling "damping off in tomatoes" then clicking images. There are others you might want to compate yours to.

Betsy

Here is a link that might be useful: Pic of Seedling with Damping Off

This post was edited by bets on Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 10:08

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Drakemoore(8 - FL)

Doesn't look like it but to be honest since it's been awhile since I've raised tomatoes and I don't recall these issues it could be.

Another way to describe the issue since the ones that had this problem are long dead now and I didn't take a picture. More or less when this happens, the tomato stem looks identical to a hour glass.

As if it were squeezed in tightly and there's no way for the stem to hold up the weight of the top any longer. Very stringy.

Rest of the tomatoes look like they're starting to grow strong though, stems thickening up. Still would like to know the reason though for the future so maybe I can adjust the way I do things.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:14PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Quick Start
I sowed 6 tomato varieties yesterday in frozen garden...
goodground
Avoid Disease
Hello. My first time posting here. I guess I'm a novice...
chickencoupe
What is wrong with this leaf?
This Pink Brandywine has one bottom leaf that is dry...
dragon49
Tell apart a Cherokee Purple and Black from Tula?
This year I decided to plant a mixed bag of seeds since...
brandon_the_random
How Is The Weather ..1- 2015
Spring has arrived early here. The temperatures are...
Seysonn_ 7b-WA/HZ1
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™