One of the best moments is to pick tomatoes from a tomato plant in your own garden. But you need to take a lot of care so the plant grows well. One of the problems that can harm your tomato plant is the wind.
Wind can kill tomato plants if it’s strong enough especially damaging young tomato plants. You can protect the tomato plants from the wind using a windbreak, adding good support structures, covering with a cloche, or bringing potted tomato plants indoors.
I’ve written details on what are the problems that wind can cause for the tomato plants. I’ve also written how you can protect your tomato plants from the wind. So keep reading.
How wind affects tomato plants
Your tomato plants need a certain amount of wind so there’s good air circulation. This prevents moist conditions to develop in the foliage and cause fungal diseases. The wind also helps bring about pollination of the tomato flowers so they can bear fruit.
The problem is if the wind is very strong it can impact the tomato plant environment. The wind causes the moisture on the leaves to dry out faster.
This makes the leaves curl up to reduce this loss of moisture. But as a result, the leaves have less surface area to absorb the sunlight and produce food. This slows down the growth of the plant.
If the wind is strong, it can damage the tomato plant by bending the stem over. If this keeps happening for a long time, there is a risk that the stem will break.
The strong wind can also strip away leaves and foliage from the tomato plant. This can cause your tomato plants to spend several weeks recovering back the foliage that it has lost.
If the wind causes a drop in the temperature, it will slow down the growth of the tomato plant. If the temperature goes below freezing, there is a risk of killing the tomato plant. If there are tomatoes growing and they get hit with cold temperatures, they have a good chance of rotting.
If you just transplanted young tomato plants in your garden and the wind is strong, they won’t survive the stress that such wind causes to them.
Can tomato plants recover from wind damage?
If there was just some occasional strong wind in your garden, then the tomato plants will recover from the wind damage after a few days,
But if your area gets frequent strong winds, your tomato plants may not be able to recover. This is especially bad for young tomato plants that have not developed strong roots and stems.
If the tomato plant has been damaged by wind and the leaves are curling, they will come back to their original shape once the wind has reduced or you added some protection from the wind.
If the tomato plant has bent over due to the strong wind, you can bring it back to the original position and tie it to a trellis or stake that has a strong base. You can consider placing a tomato cage around the plant that can give it better support in situations of strong winds.
If the tomatoes are affected by frost due to cold winds, its best to harvest them as soon as possible. Those that survive the frost can be ripened indoors.
How to protect tomato plants from wind
1. Pick the right location to grow
The best solution to protect your tomato plants from wind is to prevent them from facing this problem. You can do this by growing the tomato plants in an area of the garden that is protected from the wind.
This could be a location near a wall, fence, or tall trees that help reduce the flow of wind on the plants growing near the area.
You could also design your garden with artificial structures that can direct the flow of wind in a controlled manner. You could build a fence or wall that guides the wind in the desired direction.
If you’re thinking about placing a water fountain or seating area, you can design the garden considering how it impacts the wind flowing near the plants.
If you’re growing tomatoes in a container, you can just move it away from a location that is getting a lot of wind. You can also consider placing the container in a moving tray if you need to move it around often.
2. Use a windbreak
A windbreak comes in handy when you want to protect your tomato plants temporarily from the wind. This could be any material that can block the wind like plastic, fabric, or cloth.
The problem with using plastic is that it can block the sunlight if it’s not translucent. It can also heat up the plant because it acts as a mini greenhouse. The plastic can increase the humidity near the plant and risk fungal diseases.
That’s why it’s best to use plastic only as a temporary solution when you know there’s going to be strong winds for a day or two.
I would suggest using material like grow cloth as a windbreak. This material allows 85% of air, moisture, and light to reach the tomato plant. So it won’t impact the growth of the plant or risk increasing humidity.
Another option is to use a plastic or wire mesh such as you get with scaffold netting. This works great to protect the tomato plants from wind without suffocating the plant.
The only problem with scaffold netting is you need to fix it near the plant with the help of some strong support like a trellis. If you’re growing tomatoes in a cage, you can attach it to the cage itself.
You can also create a windbreak using woven wood panels. Material such as cane is great for creating such panels that will allow a little wind through them while blocking the strong flow.
You can create a living windbreak by growing stronger plants near the tomato plant. These could be plants that are smaller and would help diffuse the wind flowing through them. Some such plants are bamboo, willow, and periwinkle.
3. Use a cloche
A cloche is any material that can help cover the tomato plant and protect it from strong winds. A typical cloche would be a portion of a water cooler bottle.
This is a temporary solution when you find out that strong winds are going to arrive and you need to immediately protect your tomato plant. And this solution will only work for smaller tomato plants that can be covered with such a container.
You can cut half of a water cooler bottle and place it on the tomato plant. You can also remove the cap of the bottle to allow air circulation in the plant. The cloche can also act as a mini-greenhouse where it keeps it warm inside for the plant.
But make sure to remove the cloche once the wind has slowed down otherwise you risk increasing the humidity and fungal diseases attacking the tomato plant.
4. Add support to the plant
Your tomato plant can be a vine or a bush variety. In both cases, it’s best to provide some support to the tomato plant as it grows. The support helps the plant grow vertically and prevent it from touching the soil that can bring about pests and diseases.
The support can also help protect the tomato plant from strong winds. It will prevent the stem from bending over and snapping due to the wind. You can use different types of support such as a stake, trellis, or a tomato cage.
Make sure to plant the support deep into the soil near the tomato plant so it gives the strongest possible support to the plant.
If you’re growing the tomato plant in a container, it’s best to plant the stake or trellis in the ground next to the container. Also consider using a heavy container made with terracotta, ceramic, metal, or concrete that will help prevent it from toppling over.