How to start a Garden

Why Is It Important To Prune Tomatoes?

November 12, 2015 by Adam

When planting tomatoes, it is essential to select a variety suited to the location and climate you want to plant them in. In light of this, before purchasing your tomato seeds, ensure you know where you are going to plant them. Once tomatoes have reached a specific height, you will need to prune them. Pruning is an important gardening technique. You can encourage flowering and health growth by pruning correctly. Some crops are best pruned after flowering while others in winter. You have to choose the right tools to prune your crops in the field.

The hardiness and intrinsic vigor of tomatoes always guarantees a good return. However, the speedy growth of a well nourished tomato plant can also lead to issues. When it comes to tomatoes, it is important to minimize the risk of diseases and maximize the efficiency of photosynthesis. This is best accomplished by making sure that each single leaf is supported up off the ground and has plenty of room. When a tomato growth is extremely dense or the plants lies on the ground, most of its leaves are actually forced into permanent shade and as such decreasing the amount of sugar they produce.

In case a leaf utilizes more sugar than it produces, ultimately it will yellow off and then drop off. Normally, a staked and pruned crop will produce a bigger fruit 2 to 3 weeks earlier compared to a prostrate one. A properly supported and pruned single stem tomato crop presents all of its leaves to direct sunlight. Most of the sugar that is made is directed to the growing fruit because the only competition is a single developing tip.

The following are important reasons why you should prune tomatoes:

    Decrease diseases and improve airflow

With less leaves, pruned crops are less dense, letting more air to move freely through the crops. The leaves also dry quicker after a heavy rainfall, so they are less prone to the diseases that require prolonged moisture to develop. Fewer leaves also make it easy for you to spot insect pests that may otherwise be hidden in a dense canopy.

    Bigger fruit

Pruning at the perfect time directs energy towards development and ripening of more fruits rather than making more leaves. In light of this, you will have fewer fruits on a pruned crop but it will be bigger in size.

    Earlier ripening

When a plant's physiology and leaves have less fruits to take care of, those fruits ripen faster. When planting tomatoes, the major objective is to help the crop yield more ripe fruits. In case you are growing vining or indeterminate varieties, pruning your crops to eliminate unwanted leaves and shoots ensures that all the available nutrients are going to the tomatoes. However, if you are planting a determinate variety such as Heinz or Patio, too much pruning could be counterproductive.

Here is a simple guide on how to prune tomatoes:

    Determine which variety you are planting

It is important to find out whether you are growing a determinate or indeterminate variety of tomato crop. Indeterminate varieties usually grow like vines, and must be pruned and trained upright on poles so as to grow appropriately. Determinate varieties enclose themselves before they grow rapidly into a bush.

    Look for suckers that need to be removed

If suckers are left to grow, they will take all the energy from the rest of the crop and cause the crop to bear less fruits. The suckers should be removed strategically if you wish your crops to bear bigger fruits all season. Before doing anything, wait for the leaves and stems below the primary set of flowers to turn yellow.

    Remove all suckers below the first flower cluster

To remove a sucker, grasp a developing tip by the base between the forefingers and thumb and bend it forth and back until it snaps cleanly.

    Leave the thicker shoots

You should not snap off thicker suckers, since this could destroy the whole crop. In case it is thicker than a pencil, utilize the "Missouri pruning" technique and only pinch out the tip of the sucker in order to protect the growing fruit from sun scald.

    Remove leaves that are yellow

Yellow leaves normally use more sugar than what they produce. Immediately the plant starts to mature, the leaves found in the lower side will naturally start to wilt and yellow. You should pull these leaves off from the plant in order to help keep off diseases.

    Top the plant

It is important to "top" the crop so as to get the best results out of the final growth of the season. When the crop hits the roof of your green house or a month before the first frost season, remove the crops terminal shoot.

You should begin pruning tomato crops once they reach about 40-50 cm in height. By the time the tomatoes reach this height, they will have a number of branches coming off the main stem. You should eliminate any branches that are actually growing out at soil level as these basically offer a highway for harmful bacteria to get from the soil to the crop. The best time to prune these plants is on a very early morning on a very dry day. Normally, this will let the wounds from the pruning to heal and will also decrease the chances of the crop being infected by disease. Immediately you have started pruning your crops, attempt to water them from the base instead from the above.

Pruning tomatoes is really a very easy thing to do. However, there are cases where farmers might not need to prune their tomato plant. The major reason to prune tomato crops is that it helps your crop direct its energy towards producing fruit instead of producing more foliage. When a tomato crop is pruned correctly, all of the foliage gets enough sunlight and the crop is able to photosynthesize more effectively. In order to protect tomatoes against pests and diseases, it is important to prune the crop.