Tomatoes of all varieties, growing on determinate and indeterminate plants, benefit from the support of cages. Keeping the plants off the soil prevents soil-borne fungal diseases, certain insect attacks and protects growing tomatoes from direct sunlight, which can cause burning and cracking. Tomato cages come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials to support bush and vine tomato varieties. With proper installation and care, tomato cages will provide support to your prize-winning fruits year after year.
Choose tomato cages based on what kind of tomato you are growing. Tall, narrow cages in square or cylindrical form work well with vining, indeterminate varieties, such as grape and cherry tomatoes. Determinate and bush varieties that produce larger fruits require cages with a larger area.
Set up the tomato planting area to allow for the spread of the plant and the size of each cage. Space tomato plants at least 3 feet apart when planting.
Install cages immediately after planting tomatoes so that the root structure is not damaged by the cage prongs.
Center the cage over the tomato plant and gently push the support prongs into the soil.
Push the branches gently inside the cage as the tomato plant grows. Mississippi State University Extension Service notes that this practice produces more tomatoes that will not be cracked or burned by overexposure to direct sunlight.