Why is it important to tie up tomato plants?
Because tying up and providing support is vital to healthy, strong plant growth, and most importantly, a great harvest!
Unsupported tomato plants easily topple in wind or rainstorms, or simply from bearing too heavy of a fruit load.
In addition, tying up your plants helps ripen fruit faster by allowing better air flow and more light to the tomatoes.
Here is a look at the best methods to tie up plants, and the best materials to use to do it!
How To Tie Up Tomato Plants
When it comes to tying up tomatoes, it all begins with tying off the main stem.
Begin at the base of plant, tying off a few inches off the ground, and a second 6 to 8″ above ground level.
These two tie-offs will provide the main support for the plant as it grows. As you do this, always be sure to trim off any branches below this point. ( See : How To Prune Tomatoes)
For the branches above, it is all about keeping the plant under control.
Begin by tying the longest branches back to the center post. If you are using a stake, you can weave branches to support each other as you tie them back.
For cages, tie these branches equally around the supports.
Tying these off-shoots back to the main branch area provides much needed support as they begin to bear fruit.
Once the plant has 4 or 5 tie off spots throughout the top, it is good to go. As the season progresses, only tie back additional branches when they begin to wane from too much fruit.
So what should you tie your tomatoes back with? Here is a look at what to use. And more importantly, what not to use!
What Not To Use To Tie Up Tomato Plants
Selecting the wrong material to tie up your tomatoes can cause serious damage to your plants.
Materials that are too rigid will easily cut and damage the plants as they grow. They can also slice and rub tender shoots off in windy conditions.
Stay clear of zip ties, metal wire, and hard plastic ties. Heavy rope can also create issues as well.
The Best Materials To Use To Tie Up Tomato Plants
The key is to select materials strong enough to hold plants, but with flexibility. Here are four of our top choices:
One of the easiest and most economical choices around for tying up plants is a simple roll of cotton yarn.
Cotton yarn is both strong and flexible. It allows plants to move freely. And, even more importantly, it will expand when a stem grows thick against it.
Available in big rolls, it is also one of the least expensive ways to tie up tomatoes, peppers, or nearly any plant that needs support.
And you can even select it in a natural green color to blend right in with your plants!
Velcro One Wrap Tomato Supports
When it comes to tomato tie-ups on the market, the Velcro One Wrap tomato supports are a nifty new product.
Not only are they reusable, but they go on with one of the easiest methods ever, velcro!
You simply cut off the desired length from the roll, and then wrap around the stem. The material is weather resistant, and can be re-adjusted as well if needed.
Jute String / Tomato Twine
Tomato twine or jute string is an old-time favorite used by many gardeners to tie up tomato plants.
Made from Jute, tomato twine is both pliable and strong. It is also quite economical.
An 800′ roll can be found for under $10, and will usually last several seasons for most gardeners. Product Link : 800′ Rapidclip Tomato Twine
We would be remiss if we did not mention the old standby of tying up tomatoes – pantyhose!
They do work extremely well in supporting plants, and their flexible nature is easy on plants. But they can be hard to find these days, and are certainly quite expensive if purchased new.
Whatever your choice is, get out there and tie up those tomato plants to keep them healthy and strong, all summer long!
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