Though they are separate tasks, pruning and staking go together. A tomato is a solar-powered sugar factory. The most notable feature is their bunched, compact fruit. To maximize your harvest of ripe tomatoes into the fall, you must do some top-pruning on your tomato plants. Pruning helps maintain balance between vegetative (leaves and stems) and reproductive (flowers and fruits) growth, improves airflow to prevent disease, and can even help your plants produce larger fruit. You can sow seed from late March to early April if you will be growing the plants outdoors. Pruning to Create New Plants Tomatoes will grow from cuttings. Due to FedEx Shipping Constraints, Christmas Delivery NOT Guaranteed, Start With The Source - The Process of Seed Selection, Mixing Plants from Different Seed Pod Kits. View our shipping policy here. MIRACLE-GRO® and the 2-Leaf Design are registered trademarks of OMS Investments, Inc. and are being used under license. You should only prune indeterminate varieties. It might seem counterintuitive, but regular pruning is a great way to give your tomato plants the best start in life. Jeff's method concentrates pruning at the base of the plant … Cooperative Extension. 6. Cherry tomatoes are not difficult to grow in a home garden, but just because cherry tomatoes are petite doesn't mean the plants are. Determinate, or bush, varieties of tomato plants grow to only about three feet, and then put energy into leaf and fruit production, allowing them to set large numbers of fruit in a relatively short period of time. Typically, it reaches this “sugar tipping point” when it has: For both determinate and indeterminate varieties, be careful to not remove leaves that shade fruit. This is less essential in determinate varieties than in indeterminate varieties. For the rest of this discussion, we’ll talk about pruning indeterminate tomatoes. Prune early in the morning after plants have dried. Indeterminate tomato plants can get very large and will need staking, caging or trellising. Luke C., Niwot, CO Answer: Great question. Perhaps the primary reason I now choose to prune is to increase air flow in the plant canopy and remove diseased leaves to prevent its spread. Try the Durham County Center Staff Directory, or the Full Directory for N.C. (Optional) As the plant continues to grow, new suckers will form. Below are links to four short courses in the pruning jobs you will encounter as they grow. But once it starts producing more plant sugars than it needs for this, it can do other things. Tomatoes are the favorite food crop of America’s home gardeners. (The first pruning, at 4-5 weeks, is critical for building strong stems that will support fruit.) However, the rapid growth of a healthy tomato plant can also lead to problems. Cooperative Extension, Durham County Center, Agriculture Agent – Small Farms & Local Food, N.C. While these suckers can eventually become full-grown branches and produce fruit, the tomato plant can become too large with the additional foliage and will not produce as much fruit in … Many cherry and heirloom varieties are indeterminate. Managing your tomato plants by learning how and when to prune them is one of the key secrets for producing a healthier and better crop of tomatoes. To find out which tomato plant you have, check the plant tag or seed packet.) Pruning cherry tomato plants can help your garden produce better. Warm up your pinching fingers and your garden clippers and find out how a little trim can mean bigger, tastier fruit. Pruning an indeterminate tomato plant isn’t a one-time event. If tomatoes are in the ground, water thoroughly at the base of the plant twice a week. Nylon plastic twine is the best source of string. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. (919) 560-0525 Lower leaves on the plants are a source of nutrition through which nutrients are … To prune an overgrown tomato, step back and take a good look at the plant. The main reason to prune tomato plants is that it helps your plant direct its energy toward producing fruit rather than producing more foliage. If you stick to the goal of having 4-5 main stems (that are flowering and fruiting), it’s easy to see which suckers should be removed and what to leave on the plant. Although pruning (along with supporting) tomatoes requires some work, the reward of larger tomatoes on healthier vines is well worth the effort. Oct 15, 2018 - Pruning tomatoes - how and when to do it: http://www.tomatodirt.com/pruning-tomato.html. How long will my plants take to germinate? Most tomato pruning involves removing … Pruning tomato plants is an optional technique that some gardeners use to keep plants tidy, manipulate fruit size, and even speed ripening. 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