How to Protect Tomato Plants From the Hot Sun

Tomatoes are among the most favorite vegetable garden plants in the usa, but can be tricky to induce to fruit where summers are really hot. If your plants are suffering from issues like blossom end rot, or they simply refuse to make fruit, it is likely they are overheated or water stressed. Several tactics have been developed by gardeners to help offset the effects of the hot sun on tomatoes, from liberally applying mulch to protecting plants with shade cloths.

Apply around 4 inches of mulch around your plants without covering their leaves. Supply smaller plants using a mulch-free zone directly around their stems until they are tall enough that not one of their leaves is below the mulch line. Adding mulch as they grow is another good way to keep tomatoes mulched without affecting their development.

Train your tomatoes to a tomato cage to allow them to provide themselves with adequate shade. Wind the vines throughout the cage to generate a plant which is more erect — the tomato plant’s own leaves will shade the plant from sunlight.

Water tomatoes frequently, as often as twice daily for containerized plants. Maintaining the soil moist helps cool the plant’s origins, and deep watering encourages them to grow straight down into levels of soil that are less influenced by heat.

Insert a 30 to 50 percent shade cloth or a white piece of cloth that works well, like cheesecloth, to a frame built above your tomato plants. Leave enough space between the tomato plants and the cloth to allow lots of workspace and encourage good airflow or your plants may develop fungal diseases.

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