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Can A Tomato Plant Survive A Broken Stem – & Tips To Fix It!

Say you are walking in your garden and spot one of your tomato plants with a broken stem. Oh no! The heartbreak may set in, but there is nothing to worry about. Tomato plants are very vulnerable to broken stems. Whether it be wind, a failed support system, an animal running into it, or maybe you accidentally knocked, a broken stem isn’t something to lose hope over. Most of the time, broken stems are mendable, but can a tomato plant survive a broken stem?

Most tomatoes can survive a broken stem. Broken stems can be mended with tape. In some cases broken stems may cause the plant to be more vulnerable to disease and pests.

Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about broken stems and how to potentially fix them. Don’t cry over a broken stem!

Why Do Tomato Plants Stems Break?

There are many reasons why your tomato plant has lost a stem. Sometimes, it can be a mystery, and coming across it in your garden can be a bit of a shock (especially if you already have tomatoes on the branch). It is good to identify the cause of the brake to help you fix the problem. Here are all the reasons why your tomato plant may have a broken stem and how to identify them. 

Pest damage

Bugs like aphids and ants will commonly chew where the stem meets the plant’s stalk; this causes the stem to break off. Usually, you will see evidence of the mites around the place where the stem broke off or even the bugs themselves clustered in the area.

Too Heavy

Tomato plants get very heavy, and they need a lot of support. This is the case significantly if you grow beefsteak tomatoes or any more giant tomatoes. The weight of the fruit is too much for the plant to hold, thus causing branches to break or the plant to topple over.

Trellis and tomato stakes are significant for tomatoes’ growth, and it’s best to do earlier in the plant’s life. If you find a branch full of big ripe tomatoes that have fallen over, then this is probably your problem. 

Wind

Since tomatoes are very fragile, and like we talked about previously, the branches tend to get heavy, a good wind can certainly break branches from your plant. Trellis and tomato stakes will help with this problem as well.

Tall Growth

  • Tomatoes can get to be very tall, believe it or not. Especially if they are in a plot or an area where their roots can spread out. But, the taller the plant, the more support is needed, so the stems don’t bend on each other. Topping tomato plants is a great way to ensure they don’t get too big. 

Animals

  • Depending on where you have your plants, deer and other animals love getting into gardens and causing problems. I know our dogs are to blame for some broken branches every year. Keeping deer away can be a hassle. Put something shimmery around your garden to deter them from eating your plants. 

Repairing a Tomato Plant Stem

If it is early in your plant’s life and the stem has no fruit yet, it is probably best to snip the stem. It won’t make a difference to your plant as it still has loads of time to recover and grow new stems. However, if the stem has flowers or fruit that hasn’t matured yet, you can attempt to repair the stem in hopes that your fruit will continue growing and getting nutrients from the rest of the plant. There are three different levels of the broken stem, and here is how you can try to repair them.

Bent StemsPartially Broken StemsSevered Stems
1.Position the plant upright and carefully
straighten the stem
Straighten the plant upright and carefully place the broken stem back into where it broke offCut the end of the broken stem diagonally, then make small cuts on the plant where the stem broke off
2.Make a splint out of a small stick or a bamboo skewerMake a splint out of a small stick of bamboo skewer, make sure its long enough to go the length (or longer) of the stem. Splint both sides if necessary. Use Tree Wound to hold the stem back onto the plantJoin the two together, making sure the diagonal slits are matching. Use Tree Wound to attach the stem to the plant
3.Tape or glue the splint in place along the stemWrap the splint and the stem togetherMake a stint for the broken branch and get a stake for the plant
4.Stake the plant to add extra supportStake the plant for extra supportStake the plant in place, to help with the healing process and place the stint on the broken branch, tie in place
5.Keep an eye on the branch, remove splint if necessaryKeep an eye on the branch, remove splint if necessary. If the branch seems like it’s dying, then your repair has failed and at this point it is best to just cut it off.Keep an eye on the plant, this was a tricker repair so it’s not unlikely that it will fail. Remove the repair if the branch has completely died.

Will My Tomato Plant Still Grow After Repairing a Broken Stem?

The good news is that even if you have to cut the branch off, tomatoes can recover from damage easily. They repair their root systems very quickly.

New shoots or even a new branch may start growing where you cut the old one off. If you repair a stem, it should start growing back as soon as it’s fully fussed to the plant again. If you have tomatoes on the branch that you’ve repaired, they should be fine. If the tomatoes are pretty ripe, pick them just in case. Water your plant like normal and maybe give it a dose of nitrogen to boost some nutrients. 

What Happens If the Main Stem of a Tomato Plant breaks?

Say the main stem of your tomato plant breaks; you know the stem that everything is growing off of. This can seem like a big deal; it can be quite frustrating, especially if you have been growing the plant for a while. If it has completely broken off, take the whole and replant it!

Put it into moist soil, make sure it stays moist, and keep it preferably indoors (or in a greenhouse) to protect it. It should begin to shoot out new roots in a couple of weeks. 

As for the rest of the plant will continue growing, and you won’t have to do anything to it! So although this can be a scary thing, this is repairable. 

Tomatoes, although fragile, are resilient and a broken stem isn’t anything to be too concerned about. With the help of some bamboo stakes and a splint or two, you can easily fix your branches and carry on growing perfectly delicious tomatoes. Now that we’ve discussed all the possibilities of a broken tomato stem, I hope you can rest at ease and quickly, but carefully, fix your plant! Happy gardening!