tomato plant roots

ardee(6)August 9, 2012

Greetings,

I noticed this morning roots of some of my tomato plants are coming up through the soil and growing along the soil surface.

The plants are looking good except for some yellowing leaves on a few plants. The tomatoes are large and some are beginning to break color. Will the exposed roots inhibit further fruit and plant development? I was considering covering the exposed roots with topsoil but wouldn't the roots just resurface? Any advice?

Thanks,

Bob

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

Shallow rooting such as you are seeing is caused by shallow watering practices. That needs to be changed. The roots come to the surface because that is the only place they can find water.

But your plants should already be heavily mulched with several inches of straw or hay or compost or grass clippings etc. etc. so it wouldn't have developed.

Either mulch them well ASAP or at least cover them well with lots of soil and change your watering practices to less frequent and much deeper, longer watering so the soil gets wet down deep where the roots are supposed to be.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:28AM
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ardee(6)

Dave,
Thanks for your response. I didn't mulch this year because I couldn't get my hands on any hay or straw. I don't have much of a lawn for grass clippings. A neighbor gave me his clippings but as I posted before (and you responded, thank you) he had treated his lawn with weed killer so I didn't use it. I asked another neighbor for his clippings and when I told him what I wanted them for, he said "That's a good idea, I'll put it in my garden". I know there are other types of mulches I can use but at this time of the season I'll take your advice and cover with topsoil and water more heavily.
Thanks again,
Bob

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:50AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Got any fall leaves coming? If so bag them to save and use for next year. Is composting an option for you? Makes the perfect mulch? Any cardboard boxes? Layers of cardboard covered with soil are great. Even multiple layers of newspapers covered with soil can work.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:22AM
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ardee(6)

Hi Dave,
Will have plenty of leaves come October. Will definitely save for next year. Composting is a possibility- will consider that one as well as cardboard and newspaper. I already went out and got some topsoil and spread it out. Hope this gets me through the rest of the growing season. I watered heavily, as you suggested. Next year I'll do things a little differently.
Thanks for your time and advice,
Bob

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 11:41AM
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qaguy

Bob - check out Dave's comments on soil moisture on the
splitting and watering?? thread. It's the second entry
in the thread.

You might also go on Craig's list or other local boards
and search for 'free compost'. Quite often you can score
some free stuff. I did this year!

Here is a link that might be useful: splitting and watering??

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 1:14PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I get big cardboard from Sam's. So far they don't mind. It is in layers between boxes of products and pallet sized. Sometimes with wet leaves over it, it is a little slick. I like it much better than newspaper because if you get brown and not white or other colors it blends in well and is not as ugly. Earthworms love it. It rots pretty quickly but I just get more.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 3:21PM
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sharonrossy

Dave, thanks for the mulching tips. I never thought about grass clippings. But I'll try newspaper...
Sharon

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:12PM
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sharonrossy

Dave, thanks for the mulching tips. I never thought about grass clippings. But I'll try newspaper...
Sharon

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:17PM
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