Why Tomatoes Split And How to Prevent It

Why Tomatoes Split
Image: Envato Elements

A split tomato is a source of concern for many farmers and consumers, it can be annoying growing tomatoes and when it’s time to watch your beautiful harvest ripen, only to look one morning and discover they have split, this could also attract fruit flies and develop other unhealthy bacteria, fungus and mold inside.

Growing tomato and during summer and having a heavy rainstorm before harvesting is oftentimes a gamble and this is usually so in the coastal south and sometimes when you have heavy rain after the dry weather, you will find splitting tomatoes on your tomato plant.

It can be very disheartening and frustrating to have split tomatoes however the tomato can be eaten if it’s not too severe but severely split tomatoes can attract lots of bacteria inside it, however, there are simple ways these cracks could be avoided.

You may not always be able to get through a season without a split tomato but there is so much to do and know which could prevent or lower the chances of having split tomatoes. Read on to discover why tomatoes split and how this could be prevented.

Table of Contents

Why Tomatoes Split

Why do tomatoes split? Tomato split is caused by heavy rain especially when it is preceded by dry weather, this is the main cause of cracking in fruits and splitting in tomatoes as well.

Why Tomatoes Split

The fluctuations in the number of water tomatoes get is going to cause a split and cracking and splitting also occurs in tomatoes when there are rapid changes in soil moisture levels which would cause the tomato to expand quicker than the tomato skin can grow which ion turn lead to a split.

Cracking or splitting of tomatoes can be a problem, this is unlikely to happen the tomato is still green though as it rather occurs in tomatoes that are starting to ripen and which happens to be more fragile and it is important to note that there is a difference between cracking and splitting.

Some of the larger heirlooms of tomatoes like the beefsteak tomatoes do crack a bit at the top while this is not the same with splitting which tends to happen along the sides of the tomatoes.

How To Prevent Tomatoes From Splitting

How long does it take for a tomato seed to produce tomatoes?
Image: Envato Elements

It is important that you first know your tomato and understand the cause of split tomato help prevent it however you can’t always prevent splitting in tomatoes as you can’t stop a rainstorm that dumps several inches of rain on your garden after a spell of the dry season which could result in a split in your tomatoes in a few hours but you can reduce e the chances of this happening with some simple tips below.

  • Water Deeply And Regularly: Water your tomato plant evenly regularly to protect it from a severe drought, you should water your tomato plant every two to three days during the summer, and this way you won’t deal with sever tomato cracking if there is a sudden rainstorm. Regular deep watering of a tomato plant can help solve a splitting problem easily and your plant won’t be going from sudden dry condition to sudden wet condition.
  • Provide Good Drainage: You must lessen the possibility of your tomato being oversaturated by water, you should plant your tomatoes in a raised garden or place some crushed shells at the bottom of the container, this provides your tomatoes with extra calcium that strengthens the tomato making them less prone to cracking.
  • Mulching: Apply mulch around your tomato plants to even out moisture level and to maintain a more regular moisture level, provide your tomato plant with a good two to three inches of organic mulch such as shredded bark or pine needle and you will have less splitting.
  • Fertilizing: When fertilizing, do this carefully or use a naturally balanced compost, this prevents the burst of water sensitivity.
  • Look For Resistance Varieties: Tomatoes comes in different varieties, look out for one with resistant varieties. The thicker the skin, the less prone it is to split.
  • Pick Tomatoes Early: It is best to pick your tomatoes early if they are almost ripe and you are expecting a major rainstorm, now is the time to pick them before they are overwhelmed from extra moisture and that causes a split.

Are split tomatoes safe to eat?

Split tomatoes are susceptible to fungus and parasites which is why it is important to harvest them as soon as they split and it can still be eaten provided you cut around the cracks of the tomato and the good parts can be used in sandwiches, salads, sauces, and salsas however they won’t store up for long so be sure to eat or cook them right away.

In Conclusion

Splitting in tomatoes usually happen after a hard rain and this happens as a result of the change in moisture,  tomatoes could also be split in intense heat and while this can not be prevented, you can take some of the simple steps listed above to keep moisture level consistent within the plant.

You should keep in mind that as long as your tomatoes are insect and parasite free, there is nothing wrong with a  split tomato and you can get rid of the split part and enjoy the rest of it.

Read next: How Long Does It Take For A Tomato Seed to Produce Tomatoes?

Jane Walton
Jane Walton is a mum of two living in the countryside with her husband and four-legged fury, Jasper. With a degree and passion for Plant and Agricultural science, Jane writes articles that help readers figure out what, why, and how to better understand their home and garden. She currently presides over that section here at UnAssaggio.com overseeing everything to make sure you get it right the first time.