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I have a garden with San Marzano tomato plants which began budding, but recently there was heavy rain which tilted some plants at large angles. Some are using the ground as support. My question is, will this be a threat to the plant once it starts fruiting? Is there a chance that it will just snap off due to weight?

The plants are about one and a half feet tall, one month old.

  • By the way, the stems are really thick – Jeff Apr 3 '18 at 14:26
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    A picture would help a lot. – Shule Apr 4 '18 at 3:07
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Tomato plants need some kind of support (as you see, they are a sort of vine). Especially when they are fruiting, the stem cannot support the weight of the tomatoes.

It is normal to have the stem curved (and down to the soil). In professional greenhouses, the tomatoes are supported by a cord, and the cord will be lowered (or elongated) in order to have the tomatoes at the right height (and so inevitably the stem will bend). So it is not a big problem.

But, as I said, tomatoes need some support (usually a post, if you are not a professional in a greenhouse), and the leaves should not touch the soil (remove all leaves below the lower tomatoes, when you have tomatoes and sufficient higher leaves).

The stem is resilient to bending.

7

Tomato plants can certainly break under weight. Some varieties are more prone to breaking than others (e.g. Early Girl F1); I'm not sure about San Marzano, although I've grown it without issues.

However, you don't necessarily need to support tomatoes to prevent them from breaking. The plants just need enough potassium. Sufficient potassium makes tomato vines, leaves, and roots very strong and tough. Plants don't need as much potassium as I'm talking about to do well, but if you have weak plants, adding extra is one way to strengthen them (don't add extra nitrogen with it, however, unless you need it). Extra potassium may affect the flavor and texture (for better or worse), however. This is my experience. Plants toughen up within a few days of a good dose of potassium sulfate (even old growth).

I almost exclusively grow my tomatoes without support, and those I've given extra potassium have hardly ever broken. These days I usually use wood ash for potassium instead of potassium sulfate (since wood ash is fairly sustainable and has a wide array of nutrients, and tomatoes seem to benefit more all-around from it), but I believe potassium sulfate has a more potent effect in strengthening the branches and such.

When vines do break, if they're still attached at all, often they'll keep growing like nothing happened, as long as they're still somewhat attached. It's kind of surprising.

I'm not necessarily recommending that you go the extra-potassium route, since it changes the way plants behave considerably, but I wanted to point out that it seems to work as an alternative option.

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    This is interesting. Could you add a photo? But plants go up, of just creeping? (in last case, it would not be ideal in many climates). – Giacomo Catenazzi Apr 4 '18 at 5:26
  • They stay upright considerably longer than if you don't add potassium, but eventually, they creep, if they get very big (some varieties stay up longer than others, since some vine more than others). I'm in a semi-arid area (so, that may be why disease doesn't seem to be a huge issue there with the leaves on the soil). I'll have to search and see if I have a photo, but I'm not sure. – Shule Apr 4 '18 at 19:56
  • Adding extra potassium won't make a sprawling plant go upright, but it will strengthen it in the position that it is in. – Shule Apr 4 '18 at 20:00
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The parts of the plant where the fruit clusters form can break under the weight, but the more common problem is usually that the whole plant will bend over and the leaves and/or fruit will touch the ground if the plant does not have proper support.

For more information on why that's bad, see the question Do tomatoes really need support to grow?.

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Yes a tomato plant can break with the weight, since the tomato plant is also very fragile. Basically any plant that bears many fruits can break, and the tomato plant does not break the rule and breaks a lot and sometimes spoils many tomatoes because of that. This is why farmers are always careful to catch the tomato as it matures.

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    Hello and welcome! This site is English-language only, so I translated your post. – Niall C. Apr 4 '18 at 1:58
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well tomatoes reaches it's age and weight that become a reason of breaking the stems on which it grow..... Impossible it attains such value only when it is planted wisely with all supports and gardening/farming tools and knowledge.

protected by Niall C. Apr 4 '18 at 14:34

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