Staking Tomatoes Gives You a Healthier, More Productive Crop
It’s true – staking tomatoes takes a little bit of work.
But it has distinct advantages that help you have a healthier, bigger crop.
Plus, some types of tomato staking are taken care of once, early in the season – and then you’re done.
Tomatoes grow vigorously. They continually send up new stems, branches, and blossoms.
Indeterminate tomato varieties (those which keep growing and producing fruit all season until frost) are most in need of staking.
Determinate tomatoes (those which stop growing at a certain size and set their fruit at one time) have a more bushy habit, and may not need to be staked.
Advantages to staking tomatoes
- Space. Staked tomatoes grow upright, rather than sprawled, which saves garden space.
- Bigger fruit. Staking allows more light to blossoms and leaves. In addition, some gardeners prune staked plants. The plant invests the extra energy into the fruit.
- Earlier fruit. Staked tomatoes have more leaves open to the sun, which allows the plant to manufacture more energy sooner. Blossoms have energy they need to set fruit earlier.
- Healthier fruit. Staking keeps tomatoes off the ground. That makes it more difficult for pests to attack plants and keeps fruit from rotting as easily.
- Better air circulation. By staking, you allow air to move in and around branches, which keeps diseases from spreading.
- Accessibility. Staked tomatoes are easier to pick.
Disadvantages to staking tomatoes
- Time. Staking, tying, training, caging, and pruning are labor-intensive.
- Cost. Initially, stakes, cages, and ties are added expenses, although they can be used over and over each year.
- Mulch. Staked tomatoes grow upright. Exposed ground retains water best when mulched.
- Water. Staked tomatoes are erect and more vulnerable to wind, drying, and sun scald. They need more frequent watering.
Ways to stake tomatoes
More on staking tomatoes
How to stake and tie tomatoes for support ...
- Tomato stakes: posts or poles inserted next to tomato plant to which branches are tied for support.
- Tomato cages: pre-made or formed wire mesh cylinders that encircle and support tomato plants. (Check out different tomato cages to find the right ones for you and your garden: stackable garden cages
at Gardener’s Supply; the Ultimate Garden Cage at Garden.com; and Burpee’s popular XL Pro Tomato Cage.)
- Tomato trellises: wires or rope dropped from a line between posts which provide support.
- Tomato spirals
: heavy gauge steel wire that provides support through an upward twisted coil. (Gardener's Supply offers reasonable, sturdy, and colorful tomato spirals
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