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mulching tomato plants

mulching tomato plants
Posted by Walter Stoner (darkdragmon@aol.com) from Grangeville, Id on 2002-06-04 13:07:52

My wife and I decided to plant our first garden this year, so we've asked anybody and everybody for advice. We transplanted young tomato plants on memorial day weekend as recommended by the local nursery along with everything else we bought. Someone recommended that I surround my tomato plants with grass clippings from the yard. I did so without question. I realized a week later that several weeks before we planted the garden I had sprayed the grass with weed and feed to kill the dandelions. I mowed the grass twice and discarded those clippings. The third time I mowed was the grass that became mulch. Now my tomato plants have yellow leaves on the lower branches. I've asked around and they told me that they might be getting too much water (we've had some humid, rainy weather lately), but the ground seems to drain well. I've never seen puddles on the ground. The ground is full of worms, so I'm sure the soil is great for the tomatoes. Anyways, could the problem be the mulch, and if so, is it too late to do anything about it?
  • Tomato mulch
    Posted by Barbara from ct 6b on 2002-06-07 11:53:37

    Quoting Walter Stoner: ------------
    -My wife and I decided to plant our first garden this year, so we've asked anybody and everybody for advice. We transplanted young tomato plants on memorial day weekend as recommended by the local nursery along with everything else we bought. Someone recommended that I surround my tomato plants with grass clippings from the yard. I did so without question. I realized a week later that several weeks before we planted the garden I had sprayed the grass with weed and feed to kill the dandelions. I mowed the grass twice and discarded those clippings. The third time I mowed was the grass that became mulch. Now my tomato plants have yellow leaves on the lower branches. I've asked around and they told me that they might be getting too much water (we've had some humid, rainy weather lately), but the ground seems to drain well. I've never seen puddles on the ground. The ground is full of worms, so I'm sure the soil is great for the tomatoes. Anyways, could the problem be the mulch, and if so, is it too late to do anything about it?

    It could be the mulch. Generally it's recommended to mow and throw for three mowings after using weed and feed. If you're tomatoes were planted deep enough (down to the first leaf node so that they can develop a bigger and better root system) I doubt you'll have any lasting damage. Could also be transplant shock, don't know what the weather is like in Idaho but the night time temperatures should be 45 degrees, 50 is recommended but I find tomatoes are more tolerant (not like peppers). Your soil might have been too cold before you put the mulch on. Might be early blight but I think it's a bit too early for that. For safety's sake I would take off the mulch and reapply with untreated grass, don't crowd the stem. Thenjust watch and wait, Mother Nature has a wonderful habit of repairing our mistakes. Good luck.
    • Tomato plants
      Posted by Walter from ID on 2002-06-08 19:32:18

      Quoting Barbara: ------------
      -Quoting Walter Stoner: ------------
      -My wife and I decided to plant our first garden this year, so we've asked anybody and everybody for advice. We transplanted young tomato plants on memorial day weekend as recommended by the local nursery along with everything else we bought. Someone recommended that I surround my tomato plants with grass clippings from the yard. I did so without question. I realized a week later that several weeks before we planted the garden I had sprayed the grass with weed and feed to kill the dandelions. I mowed the grass twice and discarded those clippings. The third time I mowed was the grass that became mulch. Now my tomato plants have yellow leaves on the lower branches. I've asked around and they told me that they might be getting too much water (we've had some humid, rainy weather lately), but the ground seems to drain well. I've never seen puddles on the ground. The ground is full of worms, so I'm sure the soil is great for the tomatoes. Anyways, could the problem be the mulch, and if so, is it too late to do anything about it?

      -It could be the mulch. Generally it's recommended to mow and throw for three mowings after using weed and feed. If you're tomatoes were planted deep enough (down to the first leaf node so that they can develop a bigger and better root system) I doubt you'll have any lasting damage. Could also be transplant shock, don't know what the weather is like in Idaho but the night time temperatures should be 45 degrees, 50 is recommended but I find tomatoes are more tolerant (not like peppers). Your soil might have been too cold before you put the mulch on. Might be early blight but I think it's a bit too early for that. For safety's sake I would take off the mulch and reapply with untreated grass, don't crowd the stem. Thenjust watch and wait, Mother Nature has a wonderful habit of repairing our mistakes. Good luck.

      -Thanks for the advice. I did take the mulch away shortly after posting to this message board, but it may not matter. We just had a snow storm come through. I covered them with plastic after much of it melted off so that they survive the cold night and day(s) ahead. Only time can tell what will happen to my babies. That's life, I guess.
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