Brown Stem on Tomato

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pepperhead212
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#41

Post: # 23798Unread post pepperhead212
Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:01 am

@brownrexx I was thinking of that idea of trimming them early, but more than a day - more like when I start hardening them off. That should give them plenty of time to heal.
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brownrexx
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#42

Post: # 23839Unread post brownrexx
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:37 pm

@pepperhead212 I definitely think that the idea of trimming then and then planting right away with open wounds is a big mistake. I have gotten away with it for years but I definitely don't think that it's a good idea anymore. Trimming ahead would be OK though. I might do that.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#43

Post: # 23847Unread post GoDawgs
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:10 pm

@pepperhead212 , @brownrexx , I've done the trimming of lower leaves pre-planting for years too and never had a problem. Now y'all have given me pause to think. Maybe next year I'll clip them and then let them heal over a few days before planting. It can't hurt because you never know when it just might be your turn for disaster.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#44

Post: # 23862Unread post Gardadore
Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:43 pm

Yes I can see the logic in removing the lower branches a day or so earlier to allow the plant to heal. Since my first experience with this problem occurred in my cups before transplanting I never thought about it. I seem to have been lucky in the bales but will consider removing them earlier going forward. Still believe planting deep generally produces a stronger plant.
Just visited a friend today who has 120 plants. Maybe two thirds were trenched because they were so tall that they had branches removed. Their tops were barely showing after planting. The rest were planted straight in the soil with less branch removal. After four weeks the trenched ones are very strong compared to the others and filled with flowers as well as some tomatoes. So we concluded there is definite merit to removing branches and planting deep but I like the idea of preparing plants a couple of days beforehand! Always many good ideas here with all these shared experiences!
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#45

Post: # 23872Unread post JRinPA
Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:00 pm

I think you can probably trench or plant deep vertically (long spade or bulb planter or a electric drill with a one spiral mixer as a digger) without breaking off the branches. Just leave them on if you think it is a problem. I almost always break them off. To me, the mistake was putting them into the ground while it is too cold. And a terrible stretch to plant. Didnt' water them much, because I had drip tape laid in under the plastic, but not hooked up. For me, it wasn't really a disaster, just lost a few percent, when I'm not used to losing any. Big thing for me this year was, slow to start. Usually they double size in 3 days, it seems. This year it may have taken 3 weeks.

Every year for me is a little different as I keep trying new things.

Originally I trenched in all plants. I started doing it and soon learned from my mom that my grandfather planted that way. The store bought plants were usually pretty tall and oversized anyway. I leave the stem and two or three leaves. Trenching is an excellent way to go here in PA and NJ climate because our ground doesn't warm up super early, and the summer sun doesn't burn like down south. The stem stays warmer near the surface so the plants grow faster, sooner. It worked great for me, straight into the ground with no raised row to speak of. For a number of years I was double digging the rows in the fall and burying fish and lime, covering, marking the row with stick and string and then planting the rows in late May.

I haven't trenched to any great extent in I think 3 years. I started planting through black mulch into raised compost rows. The 5" of raised row is warm like the surface, but not as much water uptake as a tall plant trenched in. It is much easier to plant straight down through a hole. I still knock them back to the leader plus two or three leaves, and still trench in a bigger plant that is not through a plastic hole.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#46

Post: # 23906Unread post Ginger2778
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:17 am

GoDawgs wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:10 pm
@pepperhead212 , @brownrexx , I've done the trimming of lower leaves pre-planting for years too and never had a problem. Now y'all have given me pause to think. Maybe next year I'll clip them and then let them heal over a few days before planting. It can't hurt because you never know when it just might be your turn for disaster.
I dont think it does any harm at all to leave the leaves on and still bury it deep.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#47

Post: # 23914Unread post MissS
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:51 am

In the north, I prefer to plant them HORIZONTALLY rather than deep. The soil is far warmer at the top and if I plant them deep the plants just kinda stagnate for awhile. When planted vertically they grow much faster. I doubt that this is much of an issue down south but up north it makes a world of difference IMAO.
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Ginger2778
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#48

Post: # 23916Unread post Ginger2778
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:58 am

MissS wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:51 am
In the north, I prefer to plant them vertically rather than deep. The soil is far warmer at the top and if I plant them deep the plants just kinda stagnate for awhile. When planted vertically they grow much faster. I doubt that this is much of an issue down south but up north it makes a world of difference IMAO.
You mean horizontally, right? 🙂
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#49

Post: # 23918Unread post Growing Coastal
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:58 am

MissS wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:51 am
In the north, I prefer to plant them vertically rather than deep. The soil is far warmer at the top and if I plant them deep the plants just kinda stagnate for awhile. When planted vertically they grow much faster. I doubt that this is much of an issue down south but up north it makes a world of difference IMAO.
When I lived on the mainland, in what was a rural area (Richmond BC) 40 years ago, a new farm opened up named 'Mylora' . They recommended horizontal planting then, a method they had used in Australia, where they were from.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#50

Post: # 24007Unread post MissS
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:38 pm

Yes, oops I need to correct myself, I prefer to plant them horizontally. Thank you.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#51

Post: # 24008Unread post JRinPA
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:29 am

Laying in sidewise - horizontally - trenching them in - all the same thing to me. I'm certain MissS meant horizontally. I may have been unclear in that post above, I meant trenching OR deep upright, either would be probably be fine leaves and all if you don't want break them due to disease.
I have never planted deep, straight vertically, with big plants. That is probably needed down south for moisture/coolness, with the stronger sun.

When asked if there is any trick to getting good tomatoes, I always show/teach people how to trench them in, leaving the stem plus 2 or 3 leaves.
I'd wager that most store bought plants are buried about at the current potting soil level on the plant. Even better if there are already a few tomatoes set!
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brownrexx
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#52

Post: # 24018Unread post brownrexx
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:31 am

I was always afraid to plant them some of the branches/leaves under the soil. I was afraid that they would rot and cause trouble but it sounds like a lot of you don't worry about that and have no problems.

My hubby just told me a story. He grew up on a small farm in PA and his Dad grew tomatoes to sell to a canning company. When his Dad received his seedlings, they were bare rooted and my hubby was allowed to have the ones that were broken, bent or otherwise deemed not worthy of planting. He planted these seedlings horizontally in his own little plot of ground. His plot was on the side of a hill and was rocky and crummy ground which was too poor to farm. He said that he didn't do anything special and his plants always grew and produced.

Maybe I need to quit trying to baby my plants so much.

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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#53

Post: # 24024Unread post Gardadore
Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:56 am

If one can trench and leave the lower branches on without problems that sounds like an even better solution. Saves extra work of removing them! Will experiment with this idea next year. Trenching in a bale is a bit more challenging than in the ground because of space since I plant two tomatoes per bale but is doable. I had to angle more rather than just go straight horizontal this year but plants are really strong. Also had to add more potting mix.
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Re: Brown Stem on Tomato

#54

Post: # 24068Unread post Shule
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:01 pm

If straw/hay isn't the issue, the plant may have contracted the fungus as a seedling and been asymptomatic until conditions became more favorable. Infected plants can become asymptomatic when the conditions are not favorable for the fungus. Plants may look weaker, have insignificant roots, and grow more slowly when they're infected (before the stem rots). One thing that seems to help a fair amount is giving them a dose of potassium sulfate. This strengthens the roots and the stems of the plants, and helps them absorb water. It reduces the likelihood of them dying from damping off and root rot. It doesn't eliminate the possibility of damping off killing them; it just reduces the odds.

We had damping off on some post-transplant plants, this year. The disease did begin before the transplant, though, but still, I've never had problems post-transplant before this year that I recall even with obviously infected plants.

I believe I've read that fungus gnats can spread it. I know water and nearby infected soil/plants can, too.

Anyway, next year, I plan to mix some Permaguard food grade diatomaceous earth in the seed-starting mix to help ensure we don't get any fungus gnats breeding in it. Normally, I don't have to worry about fungus gnats, since I start my seeds in a small, unheated greenhouse (I don't keep them in the greenhouse post-transplant), but I brought my plants in for several nights as a precaution against freezes and to speed germination (due to the indoor warmth) on those that hadn't sprouted. That's when the damping off symptoms (with visible fungus gnats) began. The fungus gnats disappeared after I stopped bringing the trays inside, but the damping off persisted (and spread to new pre-transplant plants that had never been in the house) until a few weeks after the transplant. It affected more watermelons than tomatoes, but I did lose a few post-transplant tomatoes to it.

The disease proliferated in different conditions this year than it historically has. Historically, it has just affected indoor plants (mostly seedlings and cuttings), and the disease seemed to stop immediately upon transplanting.

This year, it didn't seem bothered by sunlight, nor air circulation. It proliferated in cool, wet spring weather, and stopped when it got warm and dry for a certain amount of time. It's been an unusual year, weather-wise, with frequent cool temperatures and rain (as opposed to the usual consistent hot, dry weather; our early spring and our winter were pretty dry, though; a dry early spring here is unusual; dry winters aren't terribly uncommon, though); last year was a bit unusual, too, with a cooler late spring, but not for as long. We've had returns to the cool and rain, but I haven't seen any more damping off.
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