Asked on Sep 19, 2013

Lines on Tomatoes

Patty A
by Patty A
what are these lines that encircle the top of some of my tomatoes? They are still delicious, but I am wondering what causes them.
Wondering what causes these 'lines'?
  16 answers
  • Patty A Patty A on Sep 19, 2013
    By the way, that's my 19 yr old's crib bars supporting my potted tomatoes!
  • Sue Sue on Sep 19, 2013
    Maybe too much water. That what I 've always been told.
    • Babby Blair Babby Blair on Sep 21, 2013
      @Sue, that's what my grandparents and dad always said too. and you'll notice that when you get a huge rain, or forget your sprinkler, that's when it show up. it grows too fast and splits the skin.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 19, 2013
    They are known as physiological cracks, and are caused by the skin on the tomato hardening when the soil is dry and then being unable to expand when the soil is wet. So the cause is not too much water, but uneven water. They should not affect the edibility of your tomatoes.
    • See 1 previous
    • GeeJudy GeeJudy on Sep 21, 2013
      @Douglas Hunt good to know--I've got the same thing
  • Patty A Patty A on Sep 19, 2013
    thank you, Douglas, I'm sure that's the problem. During hot days, the pots dry out thoroughly even though I'm watering several times a day!
    • See 2 previous
    • Judy Judy on Sep 23, 2013
      @Patty A I plant mine out in the garden then lay down newspaper topped with mulch. I've never had a problem with fungus, maybe because the top of the mulch dries out & it does help the soil around the plant retain moisture through the heat of the day.
  • H.C. Lawn H.C. Lawn on Sep 21, 2013
    i have seen it never knew why tk
  • Dolores Dolores on Sep 21, 2013
    early blight is sometimes called target spot. Apart from the typical target spotting on the leaves and petioles, the fungus attacks the fruits, causing concentric rings around the calyx scar and black depressing, which often slipt open.the disease attacks young seedlings, which develope 'black leg' causing the stems to become brittle and the plants to fall over. to control this disease spray with Bravo, Blitox or Dithane, starting when the first two of three true leaves appear and repeating every 7 - 10 days. hope this helps you
  • Phillip Williams Phillip Williams on Sep 21, 2013
    I have to agree with Douglas on this one...
  • Gretchen Gretchen on Sep 21, 2013
    Next summer try a good layer of mulch on top of the soil. It may help keep some of the moisture in until you can water again. I also grow my tomatoes in pots and you have to do a few things differently than if they were out in the garden!
  • Heidi Colton Heidi Colton on Sep 21, 2013
    Oh thank you for your post I have had the same problem. I will try mulch next year.
  • Babby Blair Babby Blair on Sep 21, 2013
    It's when you get too much at once that it happens. We keep out garden watered regularly and it never gets too dry. If we have watered and then it rains a bunch in the night, they will split. It's when they get too much water and then they grow too fast and split. just my opinion and experience,
  • Sal kemple Sal kemple on Sep 21, 2013
    My granny always told me they were stretch marks from growing too fast, like a woman having a baby, or anyone putting on weight too fast.
  • P P on Sep 21, 2013
    Inconsistent watering...periods of dry followed by periods of wet.
  • Patty A Patty A on Sep 21, 2013
    for all that have said that it is too much water...Douglas is right....the only tomatoes that split like this is in one particular pot I have that either drains too quickly or just dries out much faster than the others, thus creating the condition of extremes when I water thoroughly and it constantly goes from very wet to very dry.
    • Judy Judy on Sep 30, 2013
      @Patty A Douglas is almost always right. I'd listen to him before anyone else on here....myself
  • Kathy Cropper-Powe Kathy Cropper-Powe on Sep 21, 2013
    I also had this problem with my tomatoes this year and Douglas makes sense, we got so much rain this year that my squash just rotted in the ground. Glad I found this site, I was throwing them away because I thought bugs had gotten to them:) Thanks All!
  • Cheryl Knapp Cheryl Knapp on Oct 08, 2013
    I was told by an old farmer that you must pick tomatoes BEFORE they turn red, they should be green to orange when picked and wrapped in newspaper to ripen fully. The water does not matter to my tomatoes, it's being left on the vine too long that causes the splits.
    • Judy Judy on Oct 10, 2013
      @Cheryl Knapp Are you sure your farmer friend wasn't talking about how to ripen the "end of the season" tomatoes when you have to pick them green or nearly green to avoid them freezing on the vine? I always leave my tomatoes on the vine until they are red/ripe. I pick them just before I water & I never had a single split until just lately after the weather turned very rainy. Those mealy, tasteless tomatoes one buys in the store in the winter are picked green for optimum shipping time.
  • Patty A Patty A on Oct 08, 2013
    thanks, Cheryl, but as you can see from the picture , I don't think they were left on the vine too long. They just get sweeter...luckily it doesn't affect taste. So you were told to pick them all greenish orange and let ripen in newspaper? Interesting. Well, I'll have to try it since I've got tons of green tomatoes and frost is very close...
    • Judy Judy on Oct 10, 2013
      @Patty A You don't need to wrap them individually in newspaper, just put them in a box & cover them with newspaper to hold the ripening gases in or a bag with the top rolled for the same reason. Check them often! Or make green tomato relish!