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I bought what I thought was typical garden tying/hanging twine from amazon (link here) and hung my plants from the ceiling with plastic clips. Now it seems the points where the twine touches the plants there's yellowing and strange browning on the surface of the stems. It seems the plastic clips are causing no such reaction. I knew plants don't like being "touched" too much, but this seems extreme.

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Any ideas what's going on? Is there some chemical in this twine or does the material just not sit well with the plants? Should I use something better?

2 Answers 2

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It looks as if what's actually holding the plants up is the string - I know you've used plastic clips, but regardless, the string is under tension, and where it presses against parts of the tomato plants, that tension is causing damage, particularly with any movement. When a plant needs tying to a stick or support, the rule is always 'twice around the cane (or support) and once around the plant' so that the tightness is on the cane or support, not the plant. In this case, the string is rigid and in contact with stems and leaves because it's holding the plants up in the air, and any material you use to do this will have the some problem if it's in contact with the plant.

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  • I think what you wrote is the obvious interpretation, but hanging tomatoes like this is a common way for greenhouses to support tomatoes. How exactly do they do it then if any string contact results in damage? Bear in mind, the plastic clips do NOT cause this damage, yet they are holding plenty of pressure against the plant.
    – Slight
    Jun 24 at 21:27
  • Of those I can see, the plastic rings/clips in contact with the plant don't appear to be tight round the stems, as well as being much wider than the string...They look useful, those ring clips, where'd you get those from can I ask?
    – Bamboo
    Jun 25 at 10:43
  • Sure, I use these from amazon: amzn.to/3xUVyZx . They're typically for hanging with string, but I suppose you could use them with string tied to a steak as well.
    – Slight
    Jun 26 at 8:27
  • Thanks - never thought to look under 'tomato clips' - I'm in the UK, but have found something similar (and cheaper, no shipping costs) on Amazon UK. They;re actually intended as plant supports, so the bit you've got string through is where the cane support goes, with the rest clipped shut round the stems, that's what I want them for.
    – Bamboo
    Jun 26 at 14:26
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Turns out that the hemp twine I was using must've been carrying a fungus from the factory that shipped it. There were little white fuzzy rings around the brown areas that started to form and spread to the leaves.

Example

Leaf fungus

The solution was to spray with copper fungicide and to replace the hemp twine with nylon which is softer and does not allow organisms to grow on it.

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