How to Compost Lower Branches of Tomato Plants When they Are Wilting and Dying


Recycling garden debris and kitchen refuse through composting cuts down on trash and adds organic material back to the soil. Construct a simple compost heap by digging a hole 3 feet square and 2 feet deep. Surround with 2-foot-high chicken wire fence braced with stakes. Layer composting materials in equal parts brown matter such as dead leaves and vines, green matter such as grass clippings and spent garden plants and kitchen refuse like vegetables peelings, tea bags and coffee grinds.

Step 1

Water the tomato plant to make sure the wilting branches aren't because of lack of water. If that's the case, they should recover within 24 hours.

Step 2

Cut the wilting and dying branches off the main stem of the tomato plant with sharp pruning sheers. Dying branches will look yellowish with bedraggled yellow and brown leaves.

Step 3

Take the branches over to the compost heap.

Step 4

Chop the branches into small pieces from 4 to 6 inches long. This will accelerate the decomposition process. Add to the compost heap. Throw a handful of nitrogen fertilizer over the cuttings.

Step 5

Cover with a layer of garden dirt or old, worn-out potting soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wash hands thoroughly after touching tomato vines and leaves. They are toxic and will make you sick if ingested.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost heap
  • Pruning shears
  • Alcohol
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Garden dirt or potting soil


  • Pennsylvania: Department of Environmental Protection: Compost

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri: Compost Bin
Keywords: compost tomato plants, tomato vine compost, composting tomatoes

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.