How to Use Wire Fencing for Tomato Cages

Overview

Tomato plants are vigorously growing, warm-season vegetables. It is important to provide some sort of support for tomatoes before they are heavy with fruit and flop over onto the ground. Once on the ground, it is easier for slugs and other pests to damage the leaves and fruits. Tomato cages also increases air circulation around the leaves which prevents most plant diseases, according to University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.

Step 1

Cut a piece of wire fencing that is 3 to 6 feet tall and 9 1/2 to 12 1/2 feet wide with wire cutters. The size of the wire depends on the mature size of the tomato plant. Taller plants need the larger size. Use galvanized wire with space of least 6 inches so your hands can fit inside the cages.

Step 2

Bend the fencing so the width forms the diameter of a circle. The circle is 3 to 4 feet across to make reaching the fruit less of a stretch.

Step 3

Connect the sides of the cylinder with plastic fence ties. Space the ties out to every 6 inches along the seam. Pull the ties down tight with a pair of pliers.

Step 4

Place the tomato cage around the tomato seedling when it is first planted to avoid damaging the branches later.

Step 5

Lay the branches on the wires of the tomato cage as the plant grows. Do this early in a branch's growth while it is still bendable to avoid breakage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Tomato plants grown in full sun exposure will develop sunscald on the fruit without an abundance of leaves on the tomato plant. Plants grown in tomato cages develop more foliage since their branches are not pruned. This extra foliage protects the fruit from harsh ultraviolet rays.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire fencing
  • Wire cutters
  • Plastic fence ties
  • Pliers

References

  • Oregon State University Extension: Garden Hints-Stake Up Your Tomato Plants Before They Get Too Floppy
  • Arizona Master Gardener Manual: Tomatoes
Keywords: wire fencing cages, wire tomato cage, building tomato cage

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.