Tomato Transplant Shock: How To Prevent This From Happening

Transplant shock is a common problem that occurs when you move your plants to a new environment. It can be caused by many things, including temperature and soil conditions. But there are some things you can do to keep this unpleasant shock on tomatoes from happening.

How to prevent transplant shock

Ensure your tomato transplants are healthy and free of disease. Plant your tomatoes deep enough that their stems will remain buried in the ground.

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots, but not so deep that you hit hardpan (this is what causes transplant shock).

Water consistently

While it’s important to water the soil of your tomato plants daily, you’ll want to make sure that they don’t become too wet. If they do, they will likely suffer from root rot.

To prevent this, dig down into the soil with your finger and check for moisture levels every day or two (or whenever you’re able).

You’ll know when it’s time to water again if the top inch of soil feels dry and crumbly—if so, give them a good soak until it becomes moist again throughout its entire depth.

Keep it cool

The most important thing to keep in mind as a transplant shock remedy is that the plant needs time to recover from the stress of being moved. If you do not give it this time, it will have a much harder time recovering.

The best way to ensure your plants are getting enough rest is by keeping them at a cool temperature for about one week after transplanting.

Keep the soil temperature between 60 and 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) and keep air temperatures around 70 degrees for about 7 days—this can be done by covering the plant with a sheet or similar cloth if needed.

Keeping humidity high will also help speed up recovery from transplant shock, so consider placing your newly planted tomatoes near an open window or in front of an oscillating fan while they’re recovering from their move.

Use the right soil

The first step in preventing transplant shock is to use the right soil. The best type of soil for transplanting tomatoes is a well-drained and light medium, such as a sandy loam.

Make sure that it also has plenty of organic matter, which helps loosen clay soils and adds important nutrients to your plants.

Finally, make sure that your soil is pH balanced and sterile—this will help prevent any diseases from affecting your tomato plants before they grow roots in their new home.

Harden off your plants

Hardening off is the process of slowly acclimating your plants to the outdoors. This will help them transition from a warm and comfortable indoor environment to their new home, which may be in a garden, on a porch or patio, or even outside your window.

Here’s how you do it:

Use a cold frame or cloche. A cold frame is like an enclosed greenhouse; it creates ideal conditions for growing plants at any time of year.

A cloche is another type of structure that traps heat and keeps out rain, hail and wind—it’s basically like putting your plant into an insulated sleeping bag.

If you don’t have either one handy (or if they’re not available in your area), just set up some plastic sheeting over top so that it extends beyond both ends and down along each side by several inches.

Put this directly on top of the soil once temperatures begin dipping toward freezing at nightfall; take it off when daytime highs reach 50 degrees F/10 C or higher again.

You can do a few things to avoid transplant shock

Keep it cool. Place your transplant in a shady spot and keep the soil moist, but not saturated. Use the right soil.

If you’re using a potting mix, pick one with good drainage that’s been enriched with compost or manure to help keep roots healthy.

Harden off your plants first. If you have time, start by acclimating your tomato seedlings to outdoor conditions before transplanting them into the ground; this will help them adjust more quickly to their new home and prevent shock after planting.


There are many ways to prevent transplant shock. It’s important to take care of your tomato plants and make sure they are getting the nutrients they need so that they can thrive after being moved from one location to another.