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Should Tomatoes Be Watered With A Sprinkler

As you may or may not know, tomatoes can be very particular when it comes to water. They like a tight schedule and only specific amounts at a time. Until, at some point, you need to cut back on watering and let their fruit soak up everything they can before the next water. You may be wondering, should tomatoes be watered with a sprinkler?

Tomatoes don’t do very well when their leaves are wet. So over-head sprinklers are not an excellent option for this plant. However, different sprinkler heads and drip watering is the best way to go!

Today, we discuss all the ways tomatoes like to be watered, what sprinkler systems are best for them, and why over-head sprinklers may ruin your crop. Read on to find out. 

Can I Water My Tomatoes With a Sprinkler?

When faced with watering your tomato plants, an obvious solution that comes to mind is a sprinkler. Now, there are many different types of sprinklers. And yes, some sprinklers are great for tomatoes, while others you want to stay away from.

Over-head sprinklers are one you want to keep clear from for your tomato plants. When tomatoes’ leaves, flowers, and fruit get wet, it can cause many problems. The first and most significant problem is rot. Water on your plants will cause the blossom to rot, rotting the fruit, especially if it doesn’t get enough sun after a good water. 

It can also scan your tomatoes to be small, stunted, and have cracks and splits. And lastly, (another important one) is over-head watering can cause the tomatoes to be susceptible to tomato fungus, which will create all sorts of problems for your plant, maybe even kill your plant. 

All The Different Ways Tomatoes Can Be Watered

So if they shouldn’t be watered with an over-head sprinkler, how should tomatoes be watered? Here is a list of all the ways tomatoes love to get their water. 

Watering TechniquesAdvantagesDisadvantages
Hand wateringEasy, a good way to know how
much water is getting put on
Takes time, doesn’t get a deep water
BubblerSupplies a deep water and the necessary amount of waterCostly, can pool up if not drained properly
Drip TubingThe best way to ensure a deep water, with the necessary amounts of water, easyCan also be costly, learning curve, not the best for potted plants

What is The Best Way to Water Tomatoes?

Since they do not like water on their leaves and flowers, Tomatoes do best when water goes deep into the soil. This encourages their roots to follow the water and helps build happy robust root systems. The most recommended way to water your tomatoes is to drip watering. Although it can be a bit costly to set up, it is worth it in the long run. 

Now, that is a bit of a different story for potted plants. You probably aren’t going to set up a whole drip system for a few potted plants. Although you could, it wouldn’t be worth the effort. If you only have a few potted plants, the easiest thing to do is to hand water them. Just be sure that you are there long enough that the water is soaking through and getting that deep water. It is easy with hand watering to get a light topwater. 

Mistakes Made When Setting Up Drip Tubing

Perhaps you’ve tried drip tubing before, and it went horribly. It is not uncommon that many mistakes are made when setting the system up. It takes some practice to get used to it all, but it makes a world of difference once it’s done correctly. Below are common mistakes everyone can make while setting up their drip tubing.

  1. Bad Placement
  • Placement is everything when it comes to drip tubing. Not only where you place your lives but also where you place the emitters. Generally, if you have a row of tomatoes, the drip tubing goes right down the center at the base of the plants. Emitters should be placed to go in between every plant (or roughly 6 inches away from every plant.) 
  1. Not Enough Emitters
  • You may think that you won’t need that many emitters, but there must be an emitter that goes with it for every plant you have. This will ensure that every plant is getting the same amount of water.
  1. Pressure Problem
  • You need good pressure to make sure the water gets pushed down the lines. Ensure it’s on its water system, or there is no other water being used when using the drip. 
  1. Wrong Schedule
  • Making sure you have a set schedule for your tomato plants is critical. Putting your drib system on a timer is the easiest way never to forget water.
  1. Soil doesn’t drain well
  • Of course, none of this would work if you didn’t have adequately drained soil. The point of drip tubing is that the water goes directly down into the soil, hitting the roots at the bottom. If your soil doesn’t drain (for instance, maybe you have heavy clay or rocky soil), the drip tubing will counteract, and all the water will pool at the top. This can cause root damage, and the water won’t get evenly distributed. 

How Much Water Do Tomatoes Need?

It all depends on your climate and how you have your tomato plants. Generally, tomatoes need 1-2 inches of water a week. However, water tends to evaporate faster when they are in pots, meaning they may need a bit more. If you live in a very hot, dry climate, they may need more.

It is a good idea to just water your tomatoes every day, giving them a good soak daily in the morning. If they are watered in the evening, it can cause fungal growth and root rot since the plant won’t have the sun to soak up the excess water. 

Is Watering Tomatoes in Pots Different Than Watering Tomatoes in a Plot?

So you may think you have watered down, but now it all depends on where your plants are! Watering your tomatoes in a pot can be different from watering your tomatoes in a pot. 

In pots, especially cloth pots, water tends to soak up and evaporate much quicker. This means you will want to water your plants more often or for longer. Since it’s easier to hand-water your plants in pots, it may be easier to water them twice a day, especially if it’s hot out. A good schedule for potted tomatoes in the heat of the summer is twice a day, each plant for 5-8 minutes. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon. 

Water on a plot sticks around for a while since the water goes deeper and deeper into the soil. Tomatoes in a plot usually get a lot larger than potted tomatoes since their roots can spread out.

It is highly not recommended to hand-water your plot of tomatoes because it is almost impossible to keep track of how much water each plant is getting, and no one wants to be out there for that long in the hot summer sun!

So with your drip or bubbler system on your plot, it’s good to give your plants a heavy dose of water each morning. Depending on your water pressure, it’s good to have it on for 10-20 minutes. I always have my drip system on a timer, so it goes off at 9:00 in the morning, every morning. This way, I never forget to water. 

I hope this article has been enlightening to some about the many ways tomatoes can be watered and what works best for them. Remember, as long as your tomato leaves aren’t getting wet; then your plant will continue to be happy and healthy!