Right around now your tomato plant is probably getting a little crazy with the sprawling branches. Pruning is crucial to get those juicy ripe tomatoes!
Pruning is important because it will streamline all of the vital nutrients to the fruit to produce nice ripe tomatoes. Instead of spreading out the nutrients to the whole plant producing unnecessary branches. It also prevents the spread of disease through the leaves.
Before you start pruning it is crucial to know what type of tomato you have. There are two varieties, determinate and indeterminate.
Determinate: has a predetermined height and does not require much pruning.
Indeterminate: will grow to any length, height, and in any direction, you let it and requires consistent pruning.
With determinate tomatoes, you should wait for the bottom layer of leaves to turn yellow, then cut them off. You should not need to prune too much, but you can remove branches as you like.
Indeterminate tomatoes have ‘suckers’, these are little branch sprouts that will appear between the main stem and a branch.
These can be removed by pinching them off when they are young or use clippers if they have matured. If you are ever confused as to which one to clip it will always be the one in the middle!
You do not need to remove every sucker, the purpose of pruning is to control and foster growth in the plant. You can control the direction and height of growth based on how you prune.
While pruning keep your eye out for the tomato hornworm. If you find a tomato hornworm remove it immediately, it will completely destroy the plant. However, if it has white dots you can leave the worm, the dots are parasitic wasp eggs and when those eggs hatch the worm will be eaten and die.
Getting the most out of your tomato plant includes pruning! If you have any questions, call us at (860) 949-8722, or come on down and chat with our staff.