4 Tips for Pruning Tomatoes
Your tomato plant requires a good deal of quality pruning as it grows. Pruning tomatoes well helps to control excess dampness, as having less leaves allows lots of room for air to come in and keep the plant dry. This is the most important factor in fighting the various fungi and diseases which tomato plants can be susceptible to.
Pruning your tomato plants regularly also helps the plants to grow as big as possible, and the tomato fruits to grow as large and juicy as possible. If you don’t prune well, you risk having a smaller crop as a lot of the plant’s energy goes into the leaves and useless branches, instead of into the fruits themselves.
Here are four good guidelines to remember when pruning tomatoes in your vegetable garden:
Tip 1: Prune Most of the Leaves
You plant does not need many leaves at all to grow the ultimate batch of tomatoes. In fact, the only really important leaves are the ones at the very top, for catching sunlight and absorbing CO2. So you could happily prune almost all the leaves from your plant, leaving half a dozen at the top. And think of all that extra energy flowing into your fruits.
Also, a very-well trimmed plant like this will be much better-defended against fungi that grow on the damp and begins on the leaves. And bugs that feed on tomato plant leaves too.
Tip 2: Remove Alternate Branches
Tomato plants tend to grow their branches in n alternating sequence, with one branch which produces tomatoes, then the next which produces only leaves, then one with tomatoes and so on. So prune away every alternate branch, leaving only the fruit-bearing ones on the plant. This will give your fruits double the juice and growing energy.
Tip 3: Pinch, Don’t Cut
When you cut away a branch on a tomato plant, if you leave a flat or straight cut you risk the wound catching a disease, or healing in a stump, which takes a lot of nutrients and energy to heal. The trick here is to use your fingers to pinch away the branch at the base, snapping them off against the main stem. The worst thing you can do is to snap a branch in half. Get it right at the base.
If you find a new shoot growing a few days later. Wait until it is big enough to once again pinch off. You can even use these baby shoots to grow new tomato plants if you like.
Tip 4: Be Persistent
Do not stop your good tomato pruning habits, even as your plant mature and grows big. It’s a good idea to keep pruning tomatoes all the way to harvest. Pruning is an overlooked part of growing tomatoes and many growers don’t pay as much attention to it as they should. But if you are one of the wise ones who does, you will have a glorious batch of juicy tomatoes at the end of it to reward you.
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