Tomatoes are generally very sturdy plants and can survive a good deal of abuse, but occasionally a stem will bend or break. When that happens, unless the stem breaks more than halfway through, you may be able to repair the damage so the tomato will continue to thrive. The aim is to restore the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients through its stems, so the repair must render the capillary tubes viable or the broken stem will die.
Cut a short piece of elastic bandage long enough to wrap the stem at least three times.
Break a craft stick in half lengthwise to make two long narrow strips (splints) of wood.
Pull the bent or broken stem gently into its normal position and place one splint on either side of the stem at the point where it is damaged. (Alternatively, use a 2-inch long section of tubing the same diameter as the stem; slit it lengthwise and place over the bend or break to hold it.)
Hold the stem and splints together in one hand and wrap the elastic bandage firmly from top to bottom around the stems. Add more tape, if necessary, until the splints and stem are secure and the stem is capable of remaining in its position without further support.
Push a bamboo stake or a stick in the ground near the plant. Loosely tie the damaged stem to the stake with a soft cloth strip to prevent its falling under the weight of the bandage and splints.
Give the plant a few weeks to heal before removing the splint and bandages. Leave the splints in place if you do not want to risk damaging the plant trying to remove them.
Keep the plant watered when the soil is dry 1 inch from the surface.
Things You Will Need
- Self-sticking elastic bandage
- Craft sticks
- 2-inch piece of tubing
- Cloth strips
- If self-stick bandages are not readily available, try t-shirt material or old panty hose. The material must be flexible to move with the plant or the fix may cause further damage.
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