Are you from the group of people who like to check on their plants almost each and every day? Because training your plant seems the right thing to you. If that’s so, then you are a natural pruner, my friend. The whole concept of tomato pruning is actually a very optimal technique that gardeners pay most attention to.
And that is because this helps in speeding the ripening process, provide expected fruit size as well as grow plants in a neat manner. Let’s talk from start to end about how to prune tomato plants that will give you the best yielding results.
Here’s When & How to Prune Tomato Plants
You might already know the fact that understanding when to prune basil for the first time is very significant. This is the same for tomatoes too. Understanding when pruning tomatoes works best plus techniques you’ll use, are two of the most important things we need to cover. Let’s do that below.
Make Sure You Know the Variety
Before actually cutting anything, it’s important you check the variety of your plant. There could be either an indeterminate or a determinate variety of tomato plants. If it’s the indeterminate variety then make sure to train them by placing upright on poles with a proper pruning routine. Vine-like growth is what helps you to identify this variety.
And if it’s the determinate variety then you don’t need to interfere much. Because these are capable of growing into the bush and can naturally provide energy to fruits.
Signs That Say It’s Time for Pruning
If you can notice the first set of flowers are having stems and leaves that are starting to turn yellow, it’s time for pruning. The color change often signals you should prune without wasting any time. Also, pay attention to the area where branch meets stem. Can you notice any tiny branches newly sprouting there? These are known as suckers.
And once you locate them, make sure to prune. These are the ones that take all energy from he rest of plant and we need to get rid of them. Another way is to look for flowers. Once the plant starts flowering it should be between 12 to 18 inches. That’s a great time to start pruning.
Get All Suckers & Leaves Out
No matter what type of tomato you’re growing, make sure to get rid of all suckers and leaves that are visible underneath the first flower cluster. So that the plant can grow a strong central stem. This part ensures that all nutrients are going directly to the fruits. And so, there’s less wastage on growing unnecessary parts.
Use your thumb and forefinger to hold a growing tip by its base. Then keep on bending it back and forth. This will eventually make the tip snap out. That’s how you remove a sucker. The best time to do this is when shoot is still young. So that the little wound can easily heal. This technique is known as simple pruning.
Now focus on the stem and leaves. These are usually seen beneath first flower cluster too. For warmer areas, it’s best to leave them until they turn yellow. So that it can help for a while by providing shade to the ground. However, for humid climate areas, improving ventilation should be the more important concern. So, make sure to get rid of everything below the first flower cluster.
Let the Thicker Shoots Stay
If there are thicker shoots, then you should skip those. Because these are very prone to make the whole plant damage. If shoots look as thick as a pencil, it’s okay to follow the Missouri pruning method. Which means you can hold the very tip of sucker and pinch it out. This should leave one or two leaves behind. So that photosynthesis can happen and fruit development is not at risk.
Now problem is, suckers can start from the stem. And so, it can leave a stem behind that causes problems too. So, you will require additional pruning. For larger suckers, this technique is better to follow. Because wound is prone to develop a disease, it’s at least quite away from the main stem. Throughout the summer, you should prune suckers to keep plant growing well. Once or twice a week should be more than enough.
Pinching Off All but Fruit Bearing Trusses
You need to clear out the fruit-bearing trusses except for the ones that come with pretty large fruits. These are the ones you can expect to develop into fully healthy fruits. But any side shoot along with that needs to go. Simply pinch those shoot out. Make sure the top shoot is intact.
After flowering begins, you also need to ensure tied support for the vine-like plants. Or else there will be no healthy tomatoes since the vine is growing along ground.
Get Rid of Yellow Leaves
If you see yellow leaves on the plant, remove them without delay. These are capable of using sugar more than there’s available. You can simply pull them from the plant. And that way the tomato plant can stay well and fresh far away from any disease.
Now you know how to prune tomato plants and keep them growing into a strong, vigorous version of itself. Maintaining a well-draining soil that also ensures proper nutrients in enough amount are also important factors you should care to keep the growth well. Don’t feed them any less fertilizer also. By providing all the basic needs that your tomato plant needs you can only expect fruitful results.