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Overwatered Tomato Plant: Signs & How to Fix
If you’re worried you’ve overwatered your tomato plants, you can help them bounce back! Here are the signs of overwatered tomato plants, along with what you can do to fix them. At the end there are a few tips on how to prevent overwatering in the future.
Signs of Overwatering Tomato Plants
If your tomato shows any combination of the following, it could be overwatered.
Yellow or Wilting Leaves
One clear sign that your tomato has a watering issue is if the leaves turn yellow or begin to wilt. The leaves may also begin to “roll up” on themselves. While it can be tough to tell whether the discoloring and wilting is due to over or underwatering, a quick check is to see if the soil is damp. If it’s wet or waterlogged, the issue is overwatering. If it’s been dry for an extended period of time, it’s underwatered.
A second way to check is to feel the leaves. Underwatered leaves feel dry and crunchy, but overwatered leaves will feel soft and almost mushy.
Bumps and Blisters on Leaves
You may find brown or yellow bumps and blisters on the tomato plant’s lower leaves if it has been overwatered. When the overwatering is severe enough, the leaves can start to fall off the plant.
If your tomato plant is mature enough to produce fruit, a notable sign of overwatering is cracked fruit. Excess water causes the tomatoes to split open. When you eat the fruit, it might not have much flavor.
Drenched or Moldy Soil
If you notice the soil around the base of your tomato getting overly waterlogged (with sitting water on top of the soil or water oozing when you press a finger into it), your tomato has been overwatered. If it’s a one-time occurrence, the plant will probably be okay, but if it lives in drenched soil most of the time, or if it’s starting to grow mold, you have a clear overwatering issue.
If the soil stays wet for too long, your tomato’s roots can get root rot due to fungi. The roots will become dark and slimy and often give off an unpleasant odor.
An over watered tomato plant will often stop growing and may stop blooming and producing fruit if it’s mature.
How to Fix an Overwatered Tomato Plant
Now that you identified whether or not you’ve overwatered your tomato plant, here’s how you can fix it:
If you have a moderately over watered tomato plant, just let it dry out. Don’t water it again until it’s dry. For tomatoes planted in the garden, you might need to turn off a timed irrigation system or cover the plant with a tarp or bucket if it’s supposed to rain.
For a container-grown tomato, set it out in the sun to dry for a while.
For a severely overwatered tomato with root damage, you may need to try replanting.
Carefully dig up the tomato plant, making sure you get the full root ball. Then gently work as much of the soil as possible off the roots. Leave the plant in a warm, sunny location on top of newspapers or paper towels until the roots are completely dry. Inspect the roots for rotting sections and trim them off with a clean pair of pruners. You can also trim off some of the worst affected leaf sections, so the plant can focus its energy on regrowing.
You can then replant it in a large pot with drainage holes and fresh, high-quality potting soil. If you reuse your old pot, sterilize it first to discourage fungi.
If you want your tomato back in the garden, plant it directly into a new, dry space in the garden where it won’t be overcrowded. This will minimize the chances that the tomato will suffer from root rot again.
Finally, water the replanted tomato – but just until it’s damp!
There are several ways to prevent overwatering tomato plants in the first place, so you won’t have to worry about fixing them later on.
Tomatoes require about 1 inch of water per week, on average, along with 6-10 hours of sun. Like many plants, it’s best to water in the morning and avoid getting the leaves wet, if possible.
Before watering your plant, stick your finger 2-3 inches into the soil. If it’s dry, it’s time to water. If it’s still wet, hold off longer. This will keep your tomatoes from getting overwatered in the first place. Check every day, since your tomato’s water needs will vary based on size and weather. The only sure way to know is to check the soil yourself!
If you’re getting excessive rain, you can place a tarp or large bucket over the plant, and then remove it after rain. Just make sure it doesn’t become underwatered in the process.
Enjoy Your Tomatoes!
Even if you have an over watered tomato plant, you should be able to identify and fix it with the previous tips. Enjoy your fresh tomatoes!
You should always try to plant your tomatoes near marigolds. Find out why they make great companions!