The Q&A Archives: clay soil-heavy rain-wilting tomatoes

Question: I have a problem wilting tomatoes. My garden is 10inches good soil above ground on clay. When we get days on end of rain my tomatoes wilt and start to die. Is there any way to bring these back to life after our dry spell starts.

Answer: Phil,

I apologize for this delayed reply to your gardening question. The spring rush has brought a deluge of questions and we are working hard to catch up!

Soggy wet conditions exclude oxygen from the soil and root zone. Under such anaerobic conditions roots will shut down and begin to die. During warm weather the demands on the plant are great and such stresses can lead to rapid decline and death. If the damage to the root system of the tomato plants from soggy soils is too severe they won't recover. Often with soggy conditions root rot diseases gain entry into the root system and end up killing the plants. If the damage from drowning roots was minor and temporary the tomato plants may recover. I suggest you alleviate the problem with soggy soil through redirecting water away from the area or some subsurface drainage system (French drain) or even raised beds to avoid this problem in the future.

Thanks for the question. Best wishes for a wonderful gardening season. Please stop in again soon!

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