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Monday, May 16, 2011

Pruning Tomato Leaves: Prevent Disease by Removing Bottom Leaves

Mulching, as I wrote, is the first defense against soil born disease. You can see in the picture I have mulched with grass.  Use about 2 inches of green grass. When the dries out and yellows, add another 2 inches of FRESH grass. Don't keep green grass in a bag waiting for the first layer to yellow. It will stink to high heaven. Fresh grass only.

In this picture you see a Delicious variety. It has not been pruned and you can see how low the leaves are to the ground. A disease ladder waiting to happen.

Mulched but Not Bottom Pruned
You can't have issues pruning back your tomatoes. I know it seems wrong to remove lush growth. It isn't. That lush growth will become disease fodder. Remove it like I did. You can cut or snap off the unwanted growth.

Bottom Leaves are Pruned

You can see the pile I removed. It was a lot. I removed suckers and leaves. The tomato is well on its way to being pruned to create at least a 1 foot barrier between the ground and its leaves. I will prune more after some more growth. I stopped at this point to give it another weeks worth of growth.