Tomatoes are among the best crops to grow on your farm or garden.
Nevertheless, they need proper care and maintenance to ensure they grow well.
Many gardeners are faced with the problem of tomatoes outgrowing their cages.
At times, it reaches a point where they start hanging over the tops of the cages.
This is a significant hindrance as it can deter the tomato’s overall growth.
A smaller variety of tomatoes tend to thrive well in cages, but taller varieties will easily outgrow them.
Don’t worry – if you find yourself in this situation, we’re here to help.
Read on to learn more about tomato cages and 7 things you can try if your tomatoes outgrow their cages.
What Are Tomato Cages Used For?
Tomato cages are used to promote adequate growth of tomato plants, by positioning them to grow upwards.
At the same time, they are used to keep tomatoes off the ground in order to avoid premature spoiling.
The ideal tomato cages allow plants to grow tall and strong while producing healthy, high-quality tomatoes.
Tomato cages are easy to build and store while being robust enough to handle adverse weather conditions.
The tomato cages are first set over young seedlings.
As they grow, their branches grow through the cages and are sufficiently supported.
When choosing a tomato cage, keep factors such as the construction material, size, and shape of the cage in mind.
What Should I Do If My Tomatoes Outgrow Their Cages?
You can acquire plant stakes – these are poles that are typically 4 – 6 inches long, which can be used to tie and stake the plants.
Alternatively, you can also decide to put three to four stakes around the perimeter of the cage.
This allows you to tie some string between the stakes to form a cage outside the wired one.
This will help your tomatoes grow much better.
2. Pinch Off Or Trim
At times you will need to pinch off your tomato plant to make it grow better.
This helps the tomato plant to bush out, be less vine-like, and provide it with more energy to produce fruit.
If the plant grows too fast, you can also decide to trim out the parts that are a nuisance.
Best Pruning Shears For Tomatoes:
3. Cut Back on Fertilizer
Your plant may also be outgrowing its cage because of the good nutrients you feed it, which subsequently helps your plant grow better and faster.
A tomato plant should have the right balance of fertilizer that supplements requirements.
Providing too much fertilizer will cause it to produce more flowers and fruits, and grow too fast!
As a result, the fruits will either be too small or too big, and not as healthy as they should be.
4. Get Other Cages
If you previously used smaller cages to plant your tomatoes, you could solve this by purchasing other cages of the same size and setting them on top of the existing ones, but upside down.
Furthermore, you can also drive a tall stake nearby and tie the cage to the stake in several places.
If that doesn’t work for you, simply leave the cages as they are and drive a tall steel post between every third plant.
This will help provide enough support for the plant.
5. Look At The PVC Cage Design
When your tomatoes outgrow their cages, consider using a PVC cage.
Why should you invest in a PVC cage?
This will provide additional support, as the tomatoes tend to grow to the top of the cage, then cascade back to the ground.
This helps the tomatoes to grow healthily and not struggle to get various nutrients and necessities.
6. Top The Plant Before It Grows Too Tall
You need to top the tomato plant when it outgrows the cage or stake.
This allows for most of the plant energy to be redirected towards growing the fruit, rather than the stem.
Aim to cut off each top vertical stem with shears and remove the stem a quarter inch above where a side shoot diverges.
You can also choose a side shoot to prune back to the desired height of the plant.
This helps the plant to divert energy to its lateral stem rather than investing in top growth.
7. Follow The Planting Recommendations
If you plant your tomatoes too close to each other, it can easily affect them as they will need room to grow.
Thus, there is a need to plant them well and provide the right nutrients for them.
If you don’t, they will grow upwards in order to find a way out.
This will reduce the overall productivity of the plant.
Focus on creating a spacious, well-ventilated environment for your tomatoes rather than investing in their produce.
Remember: Plant at the right season, and provide enough nutrients, space, and support for your tomatoes.
If you discover that your tomatoes have outgrown their cages, don’t worry.
Tomato cages help reduce the need for tying the plants on stakes, strings, wire, or frames.
However, for maintenance purposes, you will still need to tie sagging branches to the cages.
This is because of the different distributions of the tomatoes within their cages.
Most tomato varieties require staking or trellising to manage plant growth and prevent them from overwhelming.
If you take all the relevant measures, you’ll be on your way to good produce, healthy tomatoes, and flowers that bloom well.