In this article, I will go through different causes for tomato cracking. I will also offer some tips on preventing split tomatoes.
I have compiled my experience and opinion of fellow experts to deal with different causes of tomato splitting.
Let us keep the ball rolling!
- Quick Answer: Why Tomatoes Split and How to Prevent?
- What Are My Tomatoed Splitting?
- What Causes Tomatoes To Split?
- How To Prevent Tomatoes Splitting?
- What To Do With Split Tomatoes?
What Are My Tomatoed Splitting?
Tomato splitting is the crack or the split on the tomatoes. It can occur in two ways-vertically along the length of tomatoes or concentrically around the stem of the tomatoes. It makes the tomatoes more vulnerable to diseases.
One of the tomato problems that you may have encountered is the splitting of tomatoes. It may occur during the ripening and harvest stage.
It can be unappetizing and make the tomatoes more susceptible to diseases.
The tomatoes may split in two different ways. One is concentric rings of cracks that may happen around the top of the tomato fruit.
Another is the split that happens lengthwise along the sides of the fruit. It is called radial cracking, which is more serious.
What Causes Tomatoes To Split?
The splitting of tomatoes occurs mainly due to the watering inconsistencies. The mature fruit with a thin rind, a thin pericarp is more vulnerable to splitting. Also, bigger tomatoes are prone to splitting than smaller tomatoes like cherry tomatoes.
The different causes of tomato splitting are discussed below.
1. Rapid Temperature Change
One of the main reasons for tomatoes splitting is water fluctuations. If there is a bout of heavy rain following dry weather, it may cause the tomatoes to split open.
My tomatoes grow in dry weather with little supplemental water. Sometimes my tomato plants are exposed to heavy rain after a period of dry weather.
The change from low to high soil moisture may affect the tomato plants. The skin of the tomato plants can not keep up with the sudden growth of the flesh of tomato fruits. It causes them to split open.
2. Irregular Watering
Irregular watering may cause the tomatoes to split. The sudden uptake of water after dryness causes the tomato’s flesh to grow faster than the skin, causing it to crack open.
Sometimes, human error may cause the splitting of tomatoes due to irregular watering. It may also cause root rot, stunted growth, and low fruit yields.
The irregular watering may cause the soil to go from dry to soaking up water. The sudden influx of water may cause the tomato plants to absorb more water. It may cause the skin of the tomato plants to crack open.
3. High Fruit Temperature
The high fruit temperature may cause pressure on the skin of the tomatoes. It may make the tomatoes susceptible to cracking due to exposure to high light levels.
High fruit temperatures may be caused due to the lack of leaf cover.
It causes high pressure on tomatoes and reduces the strength of tomato skins as they are exposed to high light levels. It results in the tomatoes splitting open.
Here is the video on why the tomato plants split open:
How To Prevent Tomatoes Splitting?
The splitting of tomatoes is a physiological problem and is not caused by pests or diseases.
Therefore, you may easily prevent it by following certain tips. The different ways to prevent tomato splitting are explained below.
1. Water Consistently
One of the important ways to prevent tomato splitting is watering the tomato plants consistently. It depends on the size of the plants, stage of growth, temperature, and rainfall.
Watering the tomato plants consistently is the best way to prevent tomato splitting. It is recommended that tomatoes require an inch of water per week during summer.
When there is a forecast for summer showers, you may water accordingly.
Also, when there are dry weather, water the tomato plants frequently. You may need to water for at least two to three days.
If you poke your finger into the soil and it is dry down to 1 inch, you may water them.
Avoid splashing the water on the tomato plants as it may make the leaves exposed to soil-borne diseases.
The tomato plants need more water during the early stages of growth to establish root systems. Also, bigger plants need more water than smaller plants.
You may use a drip hose for a slow, steady supply of water. The regular supply of water may prevent the tomato plants from splitting.
2. Use Mulch
Mulching around the tomato plants may help with retaining moisture. It also makes tomatoes absorb the right amount of water and prevent splitting.
Mulching may be an inexpensive way to treat tomato splitting.
I use a mulch to help my tomatoes absorb the right amount of water and retain moisture. You may provide two to three inches of mulch to the tomato plants.
The different materials that can be used as a mulch are wood chips, shredded bark, straw, plastic, or pine needles. The red plastic mulch is popularly preferred to help prevent tomato cracking.
3. Pick Your Tomatoes Early
Picking the tomatoes early before a heatwave or predicted rain may help in preventing tomato cracking. You may ripen them off the vine.
If your tomatoes are almost ripe and you are expecting a rainstorm, then you may harvest them. It may be placed on a windowsill till the tomatoes are completely ripe.
You may eat the split tomatoes as soon as possible. They won’t stay edible for a long time once cracked and picked from the vine.
4. Provide Good Drainage
Tomatoes grow well in well-drained soil. You may grow tomato plants in raised beds or containers with proper drainage holes to avoid drainage problems.
Tomatoes require well-drained soil for proper growth.
I prefer to plant tomatoes in raised beds as it offers the best drainage. You may also use containers with drainage holes.
However, you may have to provide good compost or coco peat, because they tend to leach out of the soil.
5. Choose Crack-resistant Varieties
Choose the crack-resistant varieties to prevent tomato splitting. It may be combined with other prevention tips for efficient management.
The tomatoes with low skin elasticity during ripening and thin underlying skin are more susceptible to splitting.
You may choose certain crack-resistant varieties that are less prone to splitting.
Here is the video on different ways to prevent the splitting of tomatoes:
What To Do With Split Tomatoes?
The split tomatoes that are free from rots or insects may be consumed right away. However, discard the ones affected by insects. The split tomatoes are still edible.
However, they can’t be stored for a long time and should be consumed immediately. I use it in making homemade pasta sauce, soups, and stews.
Inspect the tomatoes for any rots or insects. If they are smelling bad or have oozing liquid, discard them immediately.
The cracked tomatoes are safe to eat. However, if the split is deep inside, some insects or germs may enter inside. It usually happens with the vertical split, and it may be unsafe to eat such affected tomatoes.
Heirloom tomatoes are more susceptible to cracking as they have thin skins. The flesh of tomatoes absorbs more water than skin. Therefore, inconsistent watering may cause splitting.
I hope this article has helped you have a better understanding of splitting tomatoes and the best ways to prevent it.
Do you have any experience in working with cracked tomatoes? If, yes, I would love to hear from you.
Do share the article with your friends and family! Happy gardening for split-free tomatoes!