Tomatoes are Drowning!

Cdon(7a)May 4, 2014

Ive got 100+ heirloom tomatoes planted in a new area which I am now finding out has very poor drainage. Last wednesday we had an unprecedented 5 inchses of rain. At first the plants looked fine, but starting friday or so they started looking worse by the day droopy, curled leaves - best I can tell they are drowning. This is the first time I have dealt with this, thus I have two questions.

1. How many days (post soaking) before you can safely conclude "these guys are done" and replant?

2. Assuming they do survive, will they recover enough to produce normally? Or is this like a chilling injury where too many cold nights early season will lead to inhibited production all year long?

Any info from you guys/gals with experience in this sort of thing would be appreciated.

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

I went through something similar several years back. It was what convinced me once and for all to plant in raised rows.

Survival rate for me was approx. 80% of the 250 plants i had out at the time so the odds are in your favor. But you will lose some plants so be prepared to replace them.

Time allowed to see if they survive is as much as you can allow for, 8-10 days minimum if possible will give you the answer.

But one thing I fond that does help - depending on equipment you have available and how quickly the surrounding soil dries enough to work with - is to hill up around the plant and bury any and all exposed stem. New roots will develop all along that buried stem quickly and offset much if not all the damaged roots in the deep wet soil.

It is relatively easy to do with a furrow attachment or spaced harrow if you have one. If you have to do it by hand then focus on the varieties you most need to save.

Hope this helps and I wish you good luck.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:25PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

When we moved into our new house 5 years ago I planted some tomatoes in an area that that poor drainage. Unfortunately in my case the area never dried out and every time it rained it just stayed wet. Fortunately there were only a few plants in the really wet area, but they didn't survive and were severely stunted. The time to do something is now......if possible.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:32PM
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