By Michelle Fabio
Now that your tomatoes are ripening, you may have noticed cracking or splitting at the top of your tomatoes.
Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to repair the cracks after the fact, but there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid occurrences in the future – and it starts with understanding the cause of the problem.
Jessica Hyatt, Extension Agent of Horticulture at North Carolina State University, recently described three main causes for cracked or split tomatoes and also what you can do to prevent problems:
- CAUSE: Watering fluctuations. Letting tomatoes dry out and then giving them large amounts of water to make up for it can cause cracking.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURE: Try to have as regular a watering schedule as possible.
- CAUSE: Temperature fluctuations. Day and night temps that differ greatly can cause cracking on your tomatoes; also removing leaves that are shading tomatoes too early can raise the fruit’s temperature, causing cracking.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURE: Take special care when removing leaves so that you are not exposing developing fruit to too much sun.
- CAUSE: Fast growth. Tomatoes growing too fast causes them to literally bust out of their skins.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURE: Avoid using high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer while the plants are producing fruit as it can cause too much growth, too fast. Use fertilizer low in nitrogen during this critical time.
This information was provided through the Wayne County Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic in Goldsboro, NC.
Source: Causing of Cracking on Tomatoes