Tomatoes are one of the most delicate plants to care for, especially when it comes to pruning. Pruning has tremendous benefits to offer. Properly pruning your tomato plant helps improve their form and prevent fungal growth and bacterial disease. Left unpruned, tomatoes produce dense growth that prevent the leaves from drying, which in turn may weigh down the branches to the point of touching the ground. This then makes the plant susceptible to soil-borne diseases.
Pruning also helps improve the quality of fruits. Limiting the plant to two to three stem thins the plant’s foliage, which in turn ensures that all the leaves receive ample sunlight. Dense growth makes the leaves yellow and dry, which prompts the plant to focus on producing replacement leaves that fruits. Pruning facilitates fruit production. Properly-pruned tomato plants start bearing fruits two to three weeks earlier than unpruned plants. Pruned tomato plants also yield larger, healthier fruits.
Pruning side shoots may also help the main stem achieve greater structural strength. Side shoots grow weaker over time as the sugar that the plant uses for food is spread through more stems. This in turn decreases the plant’s vigor, and makes it more susceptible to pest-induced injury. Pruning improves the overall health of your tomato plant.
There are a few things to consider. It is important to identify whether your tomato plant is either a determinate or indeterminate variety. Determinate varieties such as Patio and Better Bush reach a certain height and then cease growing. Most of these varieties need stem support, but a few have very sturdy stems. These tomato varieties are ideal for planting in pots because of their size. Avoid pruning these varieties if possible as doing so may reduce their yield.
On the other hand, indeterminate varieties such as Early Girl continue growing and bearing fruits throughout the growing season. These varieties need extra tall support of at least five feet. These tomato varieties benefit most from pruning. It is ideal to prune side shoots that are about four inches long. It is also important to be careful in pruning during hot climates as overpruning your plant may greatly reduce its foliage and cause it to develop sunscald. Below are essential tips in pruning tomato plants for increased fruit yield this summer.