Tomato stalks breaking at the soil line

by Kelly
(Morongo Valley, California)

I have alot of volunteer tomatoes that came up in my greenhouse from last year's seeds dropped.


The plants are very vigorous and I plan to keep some of them.

Some of the plants though seem to be very weak just at the soil line.

It's like the roots are right at the soil line and the large (pinkie finger size stalk) is almost just dangling on top of the root. No stalk at all under the soil line just root.

One little push just snaps the stalk right off.

Should I just dig them up and replant them lower or do I have a problem of some sort?

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Mar 20, 2012
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There's a problem
by: Clark

I am unsure of the diagnosis but if there is no root structure then there is definitely a problem with your plants. Can you look for some identifying cause by digging up soil around the base of one of these damaged plants? Look for nematodes on the roots or possibly insects of some kind that are causing root damage.

The experts recommend rotating your tomatoes to a spot where tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant have not been planted for at least two years. Using fresh soil and always removing the debris from end-of-season plants is also recommended.

Let us know what you find out.

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