Rooting Fall Tomatoes

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Note: This week’s Home Grown is written by our Horticulture Intern, Amanda Bradley.

With it already being near the end of June many gardeners are probably going to begin contemplating and planning for fall crops in a few short months. One summer crop that can be renewed easier than you may think is tomatoes. You can produce “clones” of your existing tomato plants that are rooted in time for a fall harvest. They can then be transplanted or left right where they are rooted. This method will save you time, money, and will allow flexibility.
  • Decide which plant(s) you would like to regrow. Choose one of your varieties that you enjoy and that is doing well this summer.
  • Look as close to the ground as possible for a green shoot or sucker, it does not have to be new but younger shoots may root faster.
  • Dig a narrow trench next to the shoot that you have chosen. Lay the shoot down in the trench.
  • Bury the shoot with approximately three inches of soil as close to the mother plant as possible but leave 6” of the tip and leaves unburied. It may be necessary to stake the stem down if it will not stay in the trench with soil only.
  • Water the shoot regularly. The shoot should begin to produce roots in about three weeks.
  • Once roots develop the seedling may be cut from the mother plant. It can be transplanted or left where it is.
  • One thing to consider before doing this is the time you want your fall tomatoes ready to be transplanted or start producing. Leave enough time for roots to grow and for the seedling to become established.

Keith Reed is the Horticulture Educator in the Payne County Extension OSU Extension office. You can contact him via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, call 405-747-8320, or stop by the Payne County Extension Office at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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