When To Cover Tomato Plants At Night: Cold Protection



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When To Cover Tomato Plants At Night?

If you are new to gardening and growing your vegetables and fruits then knowing how to extend their life and keep them thriving can be tricky. Ensure your tomato plants are protected and safe from any potential threats!

There are countless tips and tricks out there to help prolong the life of your tomato plants. 

The cold is one of the biggest threats to your tomato plants. So, protecting them is essential to make it through the harvest season. 

Covering your plants protects them from the cold, gives them warmth, and allows them to thrive for another day.

Hainanstry Plant Covers Freeze Protection is a popular protection method for vegetables and fruit.

But when should you cover your tomato plants at night (see more about tomato plants here)? We answer all of your questions in the article below. 

Will The Cold Kill Your Tomato Plant?

Tomato seedlings may very easily die during a rapid cold spell, but mature plants can typically withstand one or more cold nights.

An established plant’s roots will retain enough heat to prevent harm to the plants and your tomato plant from dying as long as the soil temperature remains at 60°F or higher throughout the day.

Fruit that has dropped will also fall off due to prolonged cold. Tomato plants may set blossoms when exposed to temperatures below 55°F for an extended period of time, but the blooms may just fall off.

The cold, especially frost, is the biggest threat to your tomato plant. Alongside natural diseases. As the temperature drops and we blend into fall, your tomato plant will die.

This can also happen during the first few months of spring as the temperature slowly begins to rise. 

It is important to protect your tomato plant against the cold by any means possible. 

When To Cover Your Tomato Plant At Night 

As mentioned above, when tomato plants are exposed to temperatures of 55° Fahrenheit then the potential of them dying increases massively. 

To protect them from the cold, cover your tomato plants when you expect the soil to reach temperatures of 60°F or lower. This can be done with frost cloth wrap, plastic wrap and a sheet to help preserve the life of your tomato plants.

Abimars Plant Covers Freeze Protection Jackets are a great winter protection larger tomato shrubs and small fruit or vegetable trees.

It is crucial to remember that your tomato plants should not be covered for extended periods of time.

This means removing the cover as soon as the temperature warms and only covering the plant when the temperature drops.  

When To Cover Tomato Plants At Night?

Tips To Keep Tomato Plants Warm At Night 

As a human, knowing when the temperature drops down to a specific number is nearly impossible. So, there are a few tips to keep your mature tomato plants warm as the colder nights start to roll in. 

1. Check The Weather Forecast 

When cold weather is anticipated, be ready to cover your tomatoes. Give your plants a cover if the forecast calls for temperatures between 30°F and 40°F. You might want to offer a heat source as well.

Check the weather forecast daily to ensure your tomatoes are never too cold and you are prepared to take extra measures for their survival. 

2. Keep A Thermometer In Your Tomato Patch 

Keeping a thermometer like a RainboWiner Metal Outdoor Thermometer near or in your tomato patch is one of the most effective ways to ensure they are rarely, if ever, exposed to the cold.

Place the thermometer in a way that it is level with the plant’s vegetation to get the most accurate reading. 

If the soil reaches 60°F or lower, you know to take action and provide your tomato plants with extra warmth. 

Ensure to check the reading daily, preferably just after dark to make sure they are protected in case of the temperature drops during the night. 

3. Water Your Plants 

When cold overnight temperatures are predicted, make sure your tomato plants drink plenty of water. Hydrated plants are better able to withstand chilly conditions.

This is particularly important for tomatoes produced on straw bales, which dry out more quickly.

4. Plant Near A Structure 

Tomato plants require a lot of sunlight in order to grow. But if you live in areas such as Florida and Texas where the sun is harsh, this can actually be damaging to the plant. 

Planting near a tree, building, or fence will provide light shade from the punishing sun while offering warmth when the temperature drops.

Allowing your plant to take what it needs and survive through harsh weather conditions

5. Do Not Cover Your Plants For Extended Periods Of Time 

Yes, when temperatures are below 50°F at night, you want to provide your tomato plants with some extra warmth. But keeping them covered throughout the day and night can cause them harm. 

As the sun rises and the temperature reaches above 50°F, remove the cover and allow your tomato plants to breathe. 

Remove the covers every morning and replace them every night to ensure your tomato plant is given the best chance of survival and blossoms. 

Can Tomato Plants Recover From Cold Damage? 

Any prolonged period of cold will cause the tomato plants to die because tomatoes require warm conditions to thrive successfully.

The tomato plant has a decent chance of recovering if the temperature drop lasts only a few hours. This also relies on how mature the plant is.

When the temperature dips below 70° F, seeds won’t germinate. However, the tomato plant might survive.

Frost damage to the tomato plant and its produce can cause the tissue to freeze. The plant suffers irreparable harm when the cells freeze and burst.

When the plants and fruit have wilted, turned black, or lost their shape, this can be apparent.

The best course of action is to stay away from the plant and let it defrost on its own. After a few hours, examine the plant to determine the severity of the damage.

Bottom Line 

If you want your tomato plant to survive through colder nights, ensure they are covered when temperatures reach 50°F or lower. 

If you happen to forget or the temperature drops dramatically overnight, simply leave the tomato plant be and check later to gauge its condition. 

By simply keeping your plants watered and well-fed, you can help them survive the cold!

Further Recommendations:

Video: What is the Lowest Temperature Tomato Plants Can Tolerate?

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