How to Stake Tomatoes? Benefits & Limitations

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Quick Answer: What is Staking of Tomatoes?

Tomato plants grow well with extra support. The staking of the tomato plant is the process of attaching the plant to support in order to keep it upright.

In this guide, I will discuss in detail a popular method of supporting your tomato plant – staking.

I have prepared this guide based on my personal experience and with insights from books, research papers, and other gardening experts.

Read on!

What is Staking Tomato Plants?

Staking is a method of providing support to the tomato plants by keeping them off the ground. The stakes also help in preventing the plants from the incidence of diseases.

Staking is the process of supporting the tomato plants via vertical structures. It helps in growing the tomato plants upright.

The stakes may be made of wood, metal, plastic, dowel rods, or bamboo poles.

But, avoid using pressure-treated woods. The sections of concrete reinforcing rods may also be used as a stake.

Benefits of Staking Tomato Plants

The staking provides more space for tomato plants to grow and allow better air circulation. It can be easily accessed to prune and harvest.

The different benefits of staking are 

  • More space – Staking provides more space for the tomato plants to grow. It allows more sunlight to fall on the tomato plants offering more and larger tomato fruits.
  • Better air circulation – When staked, tomato plants have better air circulation. It may reduce the pest problems and incidence of diseases. 
  • Easy to prune -The staked tomato plants are easy to access and prune. After pruning, they spend their energy on producing fruits. So, you may have a larger yield and early harvest.
  • Easy to harvest – I find tomatoes grown on the stake may be easily accessed and harvested from the plants. Also, I could easily spot the bright red tomato fruits even from a distance.

Limitations of Staking Tomato Plants

The staking can be time-consuming. Also, the plants may suffer from sun-scalding as it exposed to long periods of sun. 

Some drawbacks of staking are 

  • Time-consuming – Staking the tomato plants may be time-consuming. You may have to adjust the twine on a time to time basis. It helps to keep the vines growing appropriately. I feel it requires a bit of skill to tie the pants to the stakes.
  • Sunscald – As the plants are tied to a vertical hedge, the growing tomatoes are exposed to the hot sun. So, they may require frequent watering. I sometimes use shade cloth over the plants on hot days to protect the fruit.

How to stake Tomato Plants?

The stake may be inserted into the ground. As the plants start growing, you may tie the top of the tomato plants using the cord. It may prevent the tomato plants from falling to the ground.

What you need – Staking requires stakes about 5 to 6 feet long for indeterminate tomato varieties and 3 to 4 feet for determinate varieties.

It is preferable to space the tomato plants at least 18-24 inches. You may insert a stake into the ground 3 to 4 inches close to where the tomato plant will grow. 

Once the tomato plants start growing tall, you may tie the top part of the tomato plant to the stake. Remove the suckers and tie the individual branches to the stake with a soft cord.

The stakes may prevent the plant from falling to the ground or being blown due to its wind. You may keep adding new ties as the tomato plants grow.

Also, don’t tie the plant immediately below a cluster of fruits.

I sometimes use an alternative system, Florida weave to support the tomato plants in a row.

You may tie the cord to the first stake, run it to the second stake, and repeat it until reaching the end of the row.

You may check this video on how to stake tomatoes using the Florida Weave method:

Why Do Tomato Plants Need Support?

The tomato plants need support to grow upright. It may help deter pests, prevent diseases, keep the fruits clean, and reduce the competition between plants.

The tomato plants require a support system to avoid the incidence of diseases, deter pests, reduce the competition between the plants, and prevent the plants from falling.

There are several other methods of supporting your tomato plant, such as caging.

  • Prevents the incidence of diseases – It may increase the incidence of diseases, if the tomato plants come in contact with the soil. You may lift the tomato plants off the ground using a support, and it will prevent the incidence of diseases.
  • Deter pests – You may protect the tomato plants from the pests that crawl on the ground using the supports.
  • Easy care for the tomato plants – When the tomato plants are supported, it is easy to remove the weeds, and prune the plants. The fruits may be easily accessed and harvested.
  • Reduce the competition between the plants – If two neighboring tomato plants are not supported, they may spread and fight with each other for light and water.
  • Prevent the plants from falling – Certain varieties of the tomato plant may grow very tall and fall when fully laden with tomato fruits.
  • Keep the fruits clean – The tomato fruits may be covered in dirt when the tomato plants are not supported. It may also be exposed to germs.

FAQ’s

How do you tie tomato plants to stake?

There are different materials to tie the tomato plants to the stake. You may use twine, a piece of fabric, or tie wraps to wrap around the stem and stake.

Summary

I hope this guide helped you stake your tomato plants.

Do share your experience with this support method with me.

Do share the article with your friends and family who love planting tomatoes!

Happy gardening!