Pruning for Healthy Tomatoes

If you already have tomatoes growing in your yard you are fortunate because they are well on their way to providing some yummy summer goodness.  Tomato plants are amazing growers, taking energy from the sun and converting it to growth better than almost any other plant.

Since they are such good growers they can get a little out of control during their race toward the sun, so they can use some help aiming their energy toward the best possible outcome.  As the plant starts to grow it easily doubles in size every twelve to fifteen days.  Then they become heavy at the top and start to fall over which means they will grow horizontally which encourages more branching.  Not an ideal situation, this will eventually turn into a four feet by four feet area of tangled mess and disease.

This is why it is best to give your tomatoes some support and some pruning as they reach upward.  Here at Nature’s Friends Landscaping we can help you choose the right plant and the right support structure to handle all the growth.  Putting a large cage around the tomato when it’s small helps you stay ahead of the rapid growth.  Then you can just keep tucking the branches back inside the cage as it tries to reach out.  You need to provide a lot of room and a big support structure for most tomatoes available on the market today.

Four is the maximum number of stems you should allow your tomato to produce, more than this diverts too much of the plants energy into growing more green stems and leaves instead of tomatoes.  You want the stems you wish to keep to branch out above each other as the plant rises, so you can prune to help with that process.

The plant will also produce suckers which are tiny stems that start in the crotches of the leaves and the stems.  If you leave these alone they will turn into branches with more stems, so the best thing to do is to continue to remove those as the plant grows.  Just take your thumb and forefinger and pinch them out, you don’t need any tools.

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