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Will Chlorine Hurt My Tomato Plants?

Tomato plants require regular irrigation to grow successfully in a home garden. Irregular or poor irrigation will cause stress to the plant, decreasing tomato production and leaving it more susceptible to disease and infection. The quality of water used on the tomato will affect its growth and development. Chlorinated water is not healthy for tomato plants.

  1. Using Chlorinated Water

    • Using chlorinated water or water that has too high of a chlorine content can cause damage to tomato plants. If continued over an extended period, chlorine can lead to the death of the plant. Chlorinated water has too high of a chemical content to be used consistently for watering tomato plants. Chlorine will affect the amount of water absorbed as well as the plant's nutritional development.

    Water Testing

    • The amount of chlorine in your water can be measured with a water testing kit, available at most hardware or garden retailers. If you are using water that is heavily chlorinated, such as pool water, stop immediately. If you are using untreated ground water, test it for chlorine levels. As well, water regularly available through your faucet often is chlorinated. Test it.

    Reducing Chlorine Content

    • A filter can be installed for your home's entire water supply system. These can range from relatively inexpensive filters to higher grade ones that will require professional installation. A simple method of reducing chlorine content is to leave the water standing open overnight. This will allow the chlorine in the water to dissipate.

    Signs of Damage

    • Signs of chlorine damage to a tomato plant include wilting and yellowing leaves, and stunted growth. Young tomato plants are more susceptible to chlorine damage, as they are not as hardy. Chlorine damage can stunt the growth of a tomato plant so severely that it may not produce flowers or set fruit. Over time, continued chlorine exposure will cause the death of the tomato plant.