Tomato plant question

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by bridget, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. bridget

    bridget Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,060
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Sorry if this has been asked before but I can't find the info. Should tomato plants be pruned-that is should the little 'sprouts' be torn off? Seems like someone told me yes but I can't remember. Hope that made sense. :)
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    I say no! Is that sufficient? Probably not!

    Remove laterals from a determinate variety and you're doing away with 50% of the production. Ditto with indeterminate types except that now you'd force the plant to grow straight up. Remove laterals on certain varieties only if you plan on staking to 6' or more. If you feel that you must torment the plant, remove the first two from any indeterminate plant and allow the rest to develop into fruit-producing secondary stalks.

    Martin
     

  3. JanaKaye

    JanaKaye Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Wow! I'm glad you posted this question! I had read this article
    http://www.taunton.com/finegardening/pages/g00031.asp
    about pruning tomatoes, and was tempted to follow it - HOWEVER, I would trust Martin's advice over ANY article, so I'm sticking with what he said!!

    Thank you, Martin, as usual, for your gold medal advice!
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Jana, I've seen that Taunton site before and read it over and over again and still don't understand it! It says to remove everything and then the two main paragraphs say something totally different. When describing what to do with indeterminates, it says to leave up to 4 stems. Well, if you leave them alone, that's what you get! The determinate advice is totally wrong since there are many of that type which produce their fruit quite high on the stem. One would end up with a single stem whereas a candelabra effect is better. At our community gardens, I'm advising almost everyone to not remove a single "sucker". There are a few with straggly plants who already know that they are going to have to stake them. I'm telling those gardeners to remove the lower one or two but no more than that. In most cases, the soil is too poor for the plants to even produce more than 2 or 3 laterals anyway.

    Also, I expect many gold medals. Gold Medal is one of the 6 or 7 yellow varieties which I growing this year!

    Martin
     
  5. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

    Messages:
    648
    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Martin, I just have to chime in here and say that all the tomato plants (seed) you sent me this spring are doing fantastic!! I am growing them hydroponicaly. My website is Randys Hydroponics Thanks again. BTW, i agree with not pruning, when you look at the pics of my plants you'll see why. I purned most of them and they are very tall, but didn't produce as much as they could have.
     
  6. bridget

    bridget Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,060
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Paquebot-tell me how you really feel. :)
     
  7. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    How do I really feel? Would that be after I wake up each morning or after a weekend of helping many other gardeners take control of their plots again? Feeling a bit tired right now after roughly 10 hours today having a hoe in my hand!

    As far as the thread topic goes, I'm anti-pruning and not alone. We've got at least 40 plots with tomatoes here. Many of those gardeners are a lot older than me! Only one has set up anything to grow straight up but the gardener is only going to remove the bottom several laterals. That gardener is still in her 20s! So, a lot of us must know what we're doing in order to get maximum production.

    Just looking at mine today showed that none need to have any laterals removed. For certain, those in large pots retain everything. Some in the field are as if they have 3 or 4 stems headed off in different directions. No problem as they all have ample space to sprawl. Each lateral means more production in the end.

    Martin