Signs Of Frost Damage In Young Tomato Plants

We all love growing tomatoes in our garden. After all, who doesn’t want their own supply of these fabulously fresh, juicy fruit?

However, growing your own tomatoes is not always going to be the easiest journey, especially when it comes to the weather.

Signs Of Frost Damage In Young Tomato Plants

Weather is out of any gardener’s control, and they can only plan for it so much, so it’s sometimes the case that the plants you’re growing get caught out and suffer conditions that they’re not too good at dealing with.

For example, tomatoes aren’t very tolerant of the cold, and so they don’t do particularly well under frost. 

In our handy guide below, we’ve got a few different ways that you can identify frost damage on your young tomato plants.

If you’re able to recognize the damage, then you might have a chance of rescuing the plants!

Signs Of Frost Damage In Young Tomato Plants 

When it comes to frost damage in young tomato plants, there are typically 3 different signs that you can look out for. 

Damage On Specific Leaf Areas

For a start, have a look at the leaves of your tomato plants. If you can see damage on the margins of the leaf, as well as between its veins, then it’s likely a sign that the frost has harmed your plant.

The best way to deal with this damage is by leaving it. Eventually, the damaged parts of the plant should fall away from it naturally.

The Stem Is Damaged

Alternatively, have a look at the stem of the tomato plant(see also: 11 Best High Yielding Tomato Varieties For Huge Harvests To Plant Today).

Unfortunately, frost damage on the stem is one of the most difficult scenarios for the plant to recover from, and this depends on where on the stem the damage is.

The lower you find frost damage on the stem, the less likely the plant is to fully recover.

So, if you find frost damage on the very lowest leaves of the plant, it’s a bad sign and your best bet is to find a replacement plant.

Alternatively, the higher the damage, the better the plant’s chances of recovery!

The Plant Is Wilting

Finally, an obvious sign that your tomato plant has suffered frost damage is if the plant has begun to wilt and droop.

How Do You Recover A Tomato Plant From Frost Damage?

If you’ve found any of the above signs of frost damage on your young tomato plants, then you’ll be wanting to know how you can try and recover the plants and make them healthy again.

Thankfully, there are a handful of different methods, and you can try these to encourage a quick recovery.

Watch The Weather

For a start, it’s always essential to keep an eye on the weather constantly.

Any grower will know that it’s important to track the weather, noticing any changes in it that could affect their plants, and this is no different with tomatoes.

Of course, you can only plan so far ahead, because some changes will come out of nowhere. However, a lot of weather changes will have a history that you can take note of.

For example, you might know that your area typically has drastic drops in temperature and other sudden weather changes during your growing period. Knowing this, plan ahead!

Signs Of Frost Damage In Young Tomato Plants

Early Picking

Additionally, you could always pick your tomatoes earlier than you normally would, because this reduces the chances of them being outside for longer and potentially exposed to frost. 

Quality Soil

It also makes a big difference in the quality of the soil that you’re planting your young tomato plants in.

Giving your tomatoes high-quality soil to grow (see also: Can You Grow Microgreens Without Soil? Here’s How!)in, with all the good ingredients that they benefit from, could help keep them extra healthy and assist them in combating frost damage better.

For example, when your plant has passed its seedling stage, it’s a good idea to have potassium in the soil when it comes time to transplant them.

Additionally , fertilizers will also help, but you need to keep an eye on their contents.

A commercial fertilizer should be fine, because they’ll have potassium in them, but you’ll need to ensure an organic fertilizer has potassium by checking its “K” figure. 

Meanwhile, fine wood ashes can also be scattered over your tomato plants, assisting with growth also.

Frost Season

When you’ve reached the end of the ideal growing season, and your tomato plants are doing really well, it’s easy to make the mistake of continuing to allow them to grow.

However, the first falls of frost will be coming soon, and your tomatoes will lose all their best qualities if you leave them out in the cold.

As a result, harvest as many of your ripe, juicy tomatoes at the end of the season as you can, leaving little to endure the coming frost!

Harden Your Plants Off

Finally, it’s a good idea to harden your tomato plants off before they face any challenging or frosty conditions.

In order to do this, bring the plant outside a week before you’re going to plant it, then leave it in a sheltered spot for an hour. Afterwards, bring it inside.

Then, each day of the following week, do the same, but increasing the time they spend outside. By the end, they should be out there all day.

This will harden the plant off and make it better at withstanding harsh conditions.

What If Your Tomato Is Frost Damaged?

If your tomato plant does get exposed to frost, then it’s best to harvest them as soon as they’re damaged. 

What should you then do with it? Well, it’s best to use it immediately in a dish. A recently-damaged tomato will be fine cooked into a dish, used in a tomato soup, or even a salsa.

As long as you’re eating it quickly, not leaving it to get worse, then it’s good.

If you do leave the plant outside to get worse, then it could start to rot. Even worse, it could bring disease to your garden, affecting other plants.

Protecting Your Tomato Plant From Frost Damage

In addition to the steps we covered earlier about saving your tomato, there are other ways to protect the plant. 

For one, small plants can be put in jugs or boxes without bottoms. Any plant part you pick out will help expose it to the sun better, too.

Additionally, you can drape greenhouse plastic or an old sheet over the plants to protect them from frost, using stakes to keep the sheet off the plants.

Final Thoughts

Frost damage is bad for tomato plants – combat it with our guide(see also: Tomato Plants: 4 Reasons To Top Your Tomato Plants And A How-To Guide)!

Amelia Haslehurt
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