Scars/Cuts on tomatoes

kevin_snowOctober 8, 2008

This is the end of my first year ever growning tomatoes. I did OK I think for my first attempt with a garden. I did have one problem, all year long, that I was never able to solve. Some of my tomatoes were perfect specimens while others had these scars or healed cuts down the sides. It's hard to describe. I put a picture here since that'll show exactly the issue.

Anyone know what causes this and what I should do different next year to avoid it?


Kevin Snow

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Here's the image, should have embedded as image not anchor

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 7:35PM
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That is splitting or radial cracking and is caused by too much water during the wrong time of fruit maturity. While the tomato was growing, it got too much water all at once, causing it to swell faster than the tomato can grow. Very common after rain, especially after a dry spell.

You want to keep the water level fairly consistent. Maybe water a little ever day or every other day, depending on where you are and what the weather is like.

A quick google took me to a site that seems to explain it pretty well. I've attached the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cracking in Tomatoes

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 9:18PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I do gently disagree with what that article said.

Actually there are three kinds of splitting and what you show is radial splitting/

Radial splitting has a genetic association with certain varieties and no, there's no list of them, and is not associated with too much water. The splits usually heal over as you've shown in your picture but heavy rains or too much irrigation can cause the splits to reopen and then rotting can occur from invasion of normal non-pathogenic bacteria and fungi in the environment.

Concentric splitting also has a genetic associtation and sometimes the pattern of cicular splits around the stem end is so specific that a variety can be IDed from that pattern. Black from Tula is one example. And same story about splits healing over and too much water reopening the splits/

The third kind of splitting is called horizontal splitting and is splits that are found anywhere's else on a fruit and I'm sure you all have seen this kind of splitting. What happens is that when the fruit is at its mature size and there's a rapid influx of water from heavy rain storms or excessive irrigation, the fruit can no longer expand and so splits.

Hope that helps.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 9:51PM
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I agree with Carolyn that the article was not complete, but I thought it was good introduction for us newbies.

And, she is correct, that some varieties are going to split no matter what you do. I had two plants in the same bed that had completely different results. One plant would be fine while the other had radial splits literally from top to bottom. One of them even had something green growing out of the bottom of it. It was like a tomato was growing out of a tomato split! I may have gotten two good tomatoes off that plant and tossed over 20 because I could not bring myself to eat them. If I had cut off the splits, there'd be nothing left but core! The other plant did fine. Sure there were splits, but only after a good rain or overzealous watering. I'm still pulling good tomatoes off of it, although with some splitting on occasion.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 10:29PM
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Thanks for the help. These plants were just Home Depot seedlings, probably not the best source.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 2:17PM
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