Why do my tomatoes split open, and what can I do about it? – John

Splitting usually happens after a hard rain, and it’s caused by the sudden change in moisture. A rapid increase in water levels will cause the insides of the fruit to swell faster than the skin can stretch, resulting in cracks.

This problem is worse in hot temperatures and during drought, as the plants respond by producing fruits with tougher skins that can’t handle sudden rapid growth.

While you can’t totally prevent it, splitting will be reduced if you take steps to keep moisture levels consistent within the plants.

Tips to Reduce Tomato Splitting:

    • Watering: Keep your tomato plants evenly and regularly watered, so that they aren’t as shocked by a hard rain. Avoid the cycle of drying out and then overwatering.
    • Mulching: Applying mulch around your tomato plants helps to even out moisture levels.
    • Fertilizing: Fertilize carefully, or use naturally-balanced compost, to prevent bursts of water-sensitive growth.
    • Picking: If you don’t use extra irrigation and therefore can’t control the amount of water, you can go out right after the rain and pick as many tomatoes as you can, and allow then to ripen off the vine.
    • Choosing Variety: Each variety of tomato is different – check out the varieties you’re planting to see if they’re more prone to splitting than others.
  • Enjoy: Finally, keep in mind that as long as the fruits are clean and insect-free, there’s nothing wrong with a split-open tomato!

Further Information


Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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