How to Place Tomato Cages

Overview

As tomato plants grow, the weight of the developing fruit can cause the plants to bend and break. For this reason, tomato plants need to have support while they are growing. The most common type of support is a simple, cone shaped tomato cage. There are also circular tomato towers that are used as tomato cages, and both types are available at lawn and garden centers and nurseries. Properly placing a tomato cage may seem obvious, but there are specific guidelines you should follow in order to be sure they are placed correctly and will support the plant throughout its life cycle.

Step 1

Place your tomato cages in place as soon as you plant your tomato plant. If you wait until the plant is larger, you may damage the root system or the plant branches.

Step 2

Pull the end stakes at the bottom of cone shaped wire tomato cages out and away from touching each other. This will give you a wider base at the bottom of the cage. For other designs, make sure the bottom wire stakes are straight and can be inserted deep into the ground.

Step 3

Center the tomato cage over top of the seedling, and insert the bottom stakes down into the ground to a depth of 4 inches.

Step 4

Test the sturdiness of the cage by gently moving it back and forth. If the cage does not feel secure, or it feels that it could easily be moved by the weight of a mature tomato plant, add supports to the cage.

Step 5

Insert three, 2-foot plant stakes 6 inches into the ground on the outside of the tomato cage, but touching the outside wire. Secure the stakes to the cage with the use of plastic cable ties.

Tips and Warnings

  • A tomato cage that is not well secured may blow over with strong wind, which can damage or kill the tomato plant.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 foot tall plant stakes
  • Cable ties

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension: In The Garden: Tomato Cages
  • Mississippi State University: MSU Cares: Staking and Training Tomatoes

Who Can Help

  • Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County: Tomato Staking Techniques Evaluation
Keywords: placing tomato cages, setting tomato cage, using tomato cage

About this Author

A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.