Tomato pruning is a very important and often overlooked part of growing tomatoes. Good pruning can make all the difference in the world to your crop of tomatoes at the end of summer. Make sure you’re not one of the people who neglect this side to tomato plant growing.
And of those who do make the effort to prune their tomato plants, those who do it the right way are few and far between. If you prune your plant the right way throughout its lifespan, your plant will be ten times healthier than any other plant, and the harvest of tomatoes at the end will be far juicier and more delicious.
Pruning Mistake Number One
The number one mistake people make when pruning their tomato plants is to do it too sparingly. When it comes to getting rid of the excess leaves and non-fruit bearing branches on your plants you don’t need to hold back!
The only important leaves on your plant are the few at the very top, which absorb the most CO2 and catch the most sunlight. Most of the rest can go. While you are leaving many leaves on your plant the plant is giving huge amounts of valuable energy and nutrients to these leaves, which do not help your actual tomatoes at all.
You can get rid of all but the batch at the top and you will see great results in your tomato crop. Also, it is actually dangerous for the plant to have so many leaves restricting the air flow around it. Tomato plants create a huge amount of humidity and need good ventilation to keep themselves dry. If a tomato plant gets moist and damp it becomes very vulnerable to rot and fungi, the two major tomato plant-killers. A plant with no leaves around the base is a very safe and healthy plant indeed.
When it comes to removing the non-fruit bearing branches, which in most plants are every second branch, break them off right at the base.
Mistake Number Two
This leads to the second mistake people often make when pruning tomatoes. You must remove the leaf-only bearing branches, but be careful how you do. If you snap one off at any point along it, the plant must give a huge amount of energy to try and heal it. The key is to break it off right at the base, against the stem.
And the key word here is ‘break’, not ‘cut’. If you cut off your branch with some snipers as most people do you will leave a flat, straight wound which is vulnerable to rot and fungi. It also takes a lot of energy to heal, and leaves a big scab. Instead, use your fingers and pinch the branch off right at the base, this will leave and uneven wound that is easy to heal. And it does not redirect much energy.
Pruning Mistake Number Three
Another common mistake people make is not taking pruning seriously enough and stopping near the end as the plant matures. This is a huge mistake. You should be persistent with your pruning right up until the harvest time. This makes all the difference in the world to the size and juiciness of your batch. I assure you, every bit of extra effort you make pruning will be paid off tenfold in the end.