The Q&A Archives: Splitting Tomatoes

Question: The leaves on my tomato plants are turning yellow. They also are not producing and more flowers. The few cherry
tomatoes that have ripened are all split. Help!!

Answer: Yellowing leaves on tomato plants is quite common and can be caused by a variety of things, including transplant shock, over- or under-watering, and lack of nitrogen. Tomatoes like rich, moist soil that's has plenty of organic matter and drains well. Tomatoes need nitrogen at the start of their growing for green healthy leaves. Try fish emulsion for an organic source of nitrogen or use a balanced fertilizer, e.g., 10-10-10. Follow package instructions for application rates. Water well before and after applying.

To address the splitting problem, tomatoes are moisture sensitive and need a regular supply of water to thrive and produce fruit. How often to water depends on your particular soil's characteristics. You want to keep it uniformly moist, but not soaking wet, to a depth of 12-18 inches. Tomatoes will grow rapidly during a hot dry spell followed by heavy rainfall or heavy watering. It can also happen during wet, warm periods. Unfortunately, these conditions almost force the tomatoes to grow right out of their skins! When they can't stretch any more, they split. This is most annoying as you have found. If the cracks are shallow they will heal over. The fruits certianly are edible - they just look bad! If the splits are deep enough they can be susceptible to decay organisms. If you keep soil evenly moist with frequent watering and mulch, this will reduce the problem. Try tomato varieties that are crack tolerant or resistant, such as 'Burpee Big Girl', 'Celebrity', 'Husky Gold'. 'Sweet Million' has better crack resistance than many other cherry tomatoes.

I hope this information helps with your tomatoes!

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