How Do I Save My Tomato Plants From the Heat?

Overview

Tomatoes are a warm-season crop that prefers warm days and nights. However, when the temperature reaches above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the plants stop setting fruit until the weather cools down a bit. Low levels of humidity prevent the fruit from setting as well. If you live where summers are hot, plant the tomatoes where they receive six to seven hours of morning sun and afternoon shade. For emergency measures during a heat wave, shade the tomato plants.

Temporary Measures

Step 1

Mist the tomatoes during the hottest part of the day to cool them down. Evaporating water will drop the temperature from five to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the humidity level. The lower the humidity, the more the temperature will drop.

Step 2

Shade the plants by draping cheesecloth over them.

Step 3

Cage the plants and drape white sheets over the tomato cages during the hottest part of the day. Wet the sheets with the mister for a double dose of cooling.

Construct a Tent

Step 1

Pound the stakes into the ground around the tomato plants.

Step 2

Attach the rope to the first stake and string it to the next stake. Tie it to that stake and string it to the next stake. Continue all stakes have been roped together.

Step 3

Drape the shade cloth over the ropes to form a tent. Secure the shade cloth to the tops of the stakes with rubber bands. Push the cloth over the tip of the stake and wrap it with a rubber band. Keep the tomatoes shaded until temperatures drop below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wash your hands after handling tomato plants. The vines and leaves are toxic.

Things You'll Need

  • Hose with misting attachment
  • Plant cages
  • Cheesecloth
  • Sheets
  • Stakes, 5-feet tall
  • Clothesline or rope
  • Shade cloth
  • Rubber bands

References

  • "The Desert Gardener's Calendar"; George Brookbank; 1999

Who Can Help

  • Arizona Master Gardener Manual
Keywords: protect tomatoes heat, shelter tomatoes heat, shade tomato plants

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 GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.