How to deal with Sunscald on your Vegetable Plants

Sunscald is a problem that is best avoided but if you notice soon enough that your plants have Sunscald there are solutions to address this problem.  We will cover in detail how to deal with sunscald on your vegetable plants.

What is Sunscald?

This is when the plant has not been given enough time to acclimate to the direct sunlight and has not been hardened off enough before placing the plants in the garden or has been left out in direct sunlight too long when going through the hardening-off process.

The leaves on the plants will turn a white color and then will dry up and drop off the plant.  If too much of the plant has been damaged the only recourse is to throw out the damaged plant and replant a new one in its place.

My Gardening Near-Disaster with Sunscald

As I have mentioned before no garden or gardener is perfect, we all make mistakes and this year I made one that I would have never expected.

I planted my tomato plants after hardening them off but I did it a little differently since I have a new greenhouse that I built.  The process this year was placing the new seedlings outdoors for a few hours each day in the shade and then I moved them into my greenhouse since it was too cold at night to leave them outdoors.

The greenhouse has a solar grey roof and I thought that this was allowing them to absorb enough suns rays to transition them to be planted in the garden without more time transitioning them from shade to direct sunlight.

Within 2 days of my entire tomato crop being planted outdoors, I saw the results of sunscald on the leaves.

I immediately started to place whatever material I had (weed barrier and frost cloth) to shade the plants for the remainder of the day to prevent more damage.

I am hopeful that I caught this early enough to salvage the plants I painstakingly grew from seeds over the last few months.  Stay tuned for the progress and updates that I will be sharing with you on my Sunscald issues.

Happy to report that all of my plants survived and now are thriving this potential disaster.

How to Prevent Sunscald on Plants

Take the time to transition your plants into your garden by hardening them off even those that you have purchased at your local gardening centers.

It is better to be safe than sorry when transitioning your plants to the garden so that you can avoid disasters like this one.

I hope that this article will prevent you from making the same mistake I made in hardening off my plants.

Remedy for sun scald tomato plants

I ran to Down to Earth which is a local gardening store to purchase some frost cloth to protect the plants from further damage, the cost was minimal less than $8.00 to protect my tomato, pepper, and eggplants from further damage during this hot weather that is supposed to be in the 80s and 90s.

This cover will allow air to move freely through the cover yet protect the plants from the harsh sun, giving them time to adjust as I can open the cover in the morning to get morning sun and cover in the heat of the day.

Day 2 with the frost cloth protecting my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants from the blistering heat-wave temps today in the mid-90s after weeks of temps in the 60s at best.  So far they look alright so I am hopeful that this will work until the temperatures cool down.

Stay tuned to see if my solution saves most or all of my plants.

My solution using the frost cloth saved my tomato plants, see picture of how they have recovered.

Growing tomatoes vertically

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