What Causes Tomatoes To Split And How To Prevent It

Growing veggies in your garden is a challenging and fulfilling project.

If you’re planning on raising vegetables and greens in your backyard, you should consider growing tomatoes. It is one of the most popular and practical veggies to grow, especially since it is often used in cooking a variety of dishes.

Tomatoes are a favorite salad ingredient which makes this veggie an asset to your garden. Nonetheless, you should make sure you know how to tend to them the right way because, in some instances, the tomato fruit may have the tendency to crack.

In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons that cause tomatoes to split and how you can avoid them.

What causes a tomato to split?

what causes tomatoes to split before they are ripe

One of the most frustrating things you can experience when raising tomatoes on your own is discovering a crack in the middle of the fruit after you’ve patiently waited for it to grow from a seedling into a red, juicy, and plump fruit. This often happens to most home growers. Some tomatoes tend to rip wide open while they are ripening.

So what makes a tomato suddenly crack open? Most often, the cause of a tomato split can be attributed to the inconsistent amount of water they absorb.

For example, if you are living in an environment that is mostly dry, and it suddenly rains on your crops, the inside properties of the tomato may develop faster than the exterior skin.

A lack of water can also cause the tomato to crack. Without a water supply and moisture, tomatoes will not grow juicy and healthy. A tomato needs the right amount of water nourishment too.

Otherwise, it will crack just like anything that is too dry and lacks moisture. On the other hand, tomatoes with too much water in them can also burst open.

Although green tomatoes may also tend to experience this issue, most often, tomatoes that are about to become ripe are more prone to splitting.

As it starts to ripen, the skin of the tomato becomes fragile. At the same time, a change in temperature can also raise certain issues on a batch of newly bred tomatoes.

How to prevent the splitting of tomatoes?

Why should you be concerned with a cracked tomato?

A split tomato is more than a visual problem. Once a tomato cracks open, bacteria and fungus can creep into the fruit. This will cause the fruit to rot and can also aid in spreading disease among your crops.

However, you can’t always prevent your tomato from splitting, especially if Mother Nature suddenly decides to rain on your crops. On the other hand, there are still ways to avoid your tomatoes from cracking up.

1. Water your plants regularly

The first thing you should do to prevent this from happening is to make it a habit to hydrate your tomato plant with 1 to 2 inches of water at least once a week or 2 to 3 days during the hot summer months. Another way to minimize cracking is to keep your plants watered evenly on a regular basis.

When you are watering your plants, make sure that you do this on ground level and water them deeply. If you just spray on the leaves, it can possibly cause the spread of certain plant diseases such as septoria or blight.

Watering your vegetation deeply on a regular basis will protect it from the effects of rain. This will help your plants adjust better from dry to wet conditions. Remember that if your veggies get drenched in rain, you can expect the fruit to crack eventually.

If you’re planning to go on a trip for a while, we highly suggest you set up an effective water system and set it on a timer to prevent your plants from thirst and dryness.

Most gardeners follow this technique to ensure that their garden is well cared for even if they are away. Otherwise, you might end up coming home to a bunch of cracked tomatoes.

2. Use a fertilizer

what causes tomatoes to split while they're growing

It’s always better to address this kind of problem to avoid dealing with tomato split. Another step to prevent this issue is to enrich the plant using a tomato fertilizer. Just follow the instructions indicated on the fertilizer.

A fertilizer will maintain healthy soil and help your plant grow many tomatoes. Following these steps will not only give you peace of mind but will also ensure that your tomato plant will grow abundantly and healthily without any cracks.

3. Mulch your plants

Gardening experts recommend you mulch your plants with organic materials such as wood chips or plastic.

The compost will help preserve and even out the moisture the plant needs and, at the same time, prevents plant disease from spreading among the vegetation.

Red plastic mulch is the best type of organic matter to help prevent a tomato from splitting.

Are split tomatoes safe to eat?

what causes tomatoes to split at the top

Generally, cracked tomatoes are safe to consume. Make it a habit of picking up and harvesting split tomatoes as soon as possible to prevent the bacteria from spreading.

However, if you notice that the crack is too severe and if the fruit has been left on the vine for too long, you should probably consider disposing of the tomato just to be on the safe side.

Chances are, the fruit may have already been exposed to certain plant diseases. If the fruit appears okay, you can just opt to slice out the cracked portion and eat the rest of the vegetables.

A healthy harvest

Now that you are aware of the reasons that cause tomatoes to split, you are now fully equipped to tend and raise your tomato plants in the best way possible.

Just make sure you follow the recommended steps to prevent your tomatoes from splitting before you harvest them. These instructions will help ensure that you raise healthy tomatoes that are fit to consume.

Did you find this information helpful? Feel free to send us your comments or suggestions. We’d love to hear what you think.

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Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of CropsReview.com. This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

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