Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Prune a Tomato Plant...

So you've weeded your garden....and you are still having troubles seeing your plants!  I turned around one day and noticed that even though we had weeded our garden...we still had what can only be described as tomato bushes.  These things have formed a nice fence along the eastern border of our property.  Just glancing at these plants, and you'd never know we actually had tomatoes growing in there.


You've have to be proactive in caring for your can't always let everything just go wild.  If you intend to maximize your'll want to do some maintenance. 

You'll have to lift up the leaves to see what you are seeing in thepicture above.  Basically you have your main stalk, the leaf branch and another branch that will eventually be home to the flowers and then the tomatoes.  I will go along and snap off the leaf branch so the plant looks like the picture below:

I find this process actually takes some of the weight off of the plant's branches and allows the sun to get at the tomatoes.  The tomatoes themselves probably don't need sunlight...but I find that air circulation and room to grow will produce a better tomato.  Plus, the plant sends more energy to the fruit rather than the large lovely leaves.

I'll provide another example of pruning below...where the fruit branch is smaller...


Obviously I'm not using any technical I have very little scientific basis for this post at all.  This is just something I've been doing for years to our tomato plants.  The area where I snap off the branches is an open wound, and probably attracts insects or diseases...but I've never experienced that to any great degree with our plants (otherwise I probably would have stopped this practise years ago and not bothered doing a whole post about it).

The bottom leaves will eventually yellow and die off I figure I'm just speeding the process along and helping the plant in the end.  Also, you want to take care and not snap off everything you see...mostly because the plant will need SOME leaves to continue photosynthesizing (using sunlight to make food).  For that reason I usually leave the top branches alone...and stick with the bottom branches that aren't getting a lot of sun anyway.

The point is, what you have after this pruning practise is a tidy tomato plant, as shown below:

(Instead of a shrub!)

Happy pruning!

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