Pruning tomatoes is an excellent way to improve the yield as well as the quality if fruits of your plant. Whether you are growing a determinate or indeterminate tomato variety, pruning tomato plant will help it produce healthier better fruits. In addition to maximizing production, pruning tomatoes also helps to protect your plant from pests and diseases. Continue reading to discover how to prune tomatoes properly.
1. Tomatoes varieties:
Pruning tomatoes depend on the variety you are growing. Determinate variety does not like much pruning. In fact, it is harmful to the plant and reduces production. In contrast, the indeterminate variety which is also known as vine variety prefers pruning. Pruning indeterminate variety will help tomatoes grow faster and produce heavier.
The most known indeterminate varieties are Big Boy, Beef Master, Black Prince, German Queen, most cherry tomato varieties and most heirloom varieties. If you are going one of these varieties, you should prune your plant to make sure that the nutrients go to your plant thus it will grow correctly.
Determinate varieties or bush varieties, don’t need pruning. These varieties automatically direct their energy toward fruiting, thus, they don’t need any help or intervention. The most common indeterminate varieties include Ace 55, Amelia, Better Bush, Biltmore, Heatmaster, Heinz Classic, Mountain Pride and Patio.
2. Pruning time
When the leaves at the bottom of stem turn yellow, you can start pruning. The change of the color indicates that your plant needs extra nutrients and more air circulation. Pruning is the ultimate way for providing these two requirements for your tomatoes.
Another way to know when to prune is to wait for flowers. As soon as your plant grows some flowers, It means it is mature enough to prune. Tomato plants usually start developing flowers when they reach at least 14 inches in height.
3. Pinch off the small suckers
Suckers are the tiny newly grown ranches between the big branches and the stem. Suckers will absorb the nutrients and energy of your plant resulting in a heavy reduction of the production. Consequently, removing the suckers is compulsory for a maximum yield.
Removing the suckers is healthy for both the determinate and the indeterminate variety. It helps the plant growing a strong stem. Besides, it is the best way to ensure that all the nutrients will go to your plant rather than undesired growing tips.
You should remove the suckers while they are still young by picking them off by your hands. You could also use a scissor to cut them off. Besides suckers, you should also remove any yellow leaves. There is no need for them and they consume the nutrients you give to your plant.
Suckers grow quickly. In order to keep your plant in a good healthy shape, you will need to prune it once a week during the whole summer.
4. Keep the big suckers
Snapping off the big suckers could harm your tomato plant, therefore, you should avoid it. In this case, you will need to pinch off only the top of the sucker. Big suckers may be useful. They are a great way to protect your plant’s fruits for burning sunlight.
5. Pinch off some branches
If you want your plant to produce healthy big fruits, you will need to pinch off all branches except 4 or 5 fruit bearing branches. Having more than 5 fruit bearing branches will lead your plant to produce small fruits. However, leaving only 4 or 5 fruit bearing trusses, is a great way to help your plant produce big healthy fruits.
Keep in mind that determinate varieties don’t require this step.
6. Snap off yellow leaves
There is no point in leaving yellow leaves. They consume a lot of energy and sugar while they don’t help your plant in any way. In fact, they make your plant vulnerable against diseases and pests. Usually, the leaves at the bottom of stem turn yellow and wit when the plant matures. Snap them off the plant as soon as they turn yellow, this is a great way to reduce your plants’ chances of being attacked by pests and diseases.
7. Top the plant
Topping the plant is an excellent way to keep your plant healthy and sturdy. Topping the plant revolves mainly around removing the plant’s top shoots. This technique is great to help the plant grow faster and bigger. It directs all nutrients to the fruits.
These are the necessary plants to prune tomatoes. These techniques will allow you to get the best of your plant. They will not only help it produce a heavy yield but also they will protect it from pests and diseases. Now you know how to prune tomatoes, maybe you should learn how to grow tomatoes in containers, in greenhouses, and in raised beds.
Prune your tomato plants carefully and let us know if you have any inquiry or question.