Moving Tomato Plants - Knowledgebase Question

Sumter, SC
Question by bungalowbob
June 25, 1999
I just recently got back from a trip and my tomato plants were growing big. I have four of them and each one of them were about 5 inches apart. I thought that the plants were too close together, so I moved them apart. I used a shovel and dug wide around the plant so I wouldn't damage the roots. When I transplanted them then about five minutes later the leaves started drooping. Do you think that they will die, and what can I do to keep them alive?

Answer from NGA
June 25, 1999


I think they will survive as long as you don't overwater them, or let them dry out. Try spritzing the leaves with a kelp/seaweed fertilizer, mixed according to label instruction for foliar feeding. This will help them recover. Next time you plant your tomatoes in the garden, space them at least 18" apart (depending on the variety). Also, tomatos will form roots the full lenghth of the stalk if they are allowed to touch the ground, so if you have very tall, leggy plants, you can plant them right up to the top two sets of leaves. If they are VERY tall, you can make a trench, lay the plant in the trench, and bend just the top third or so of the plant up, then bury the rest with soil. This will ensure a very vigorous root system, and provide great support for the plant. Best of luck!

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