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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pruning Tomatoes: Before and After Pictures

Keeping up with pruning is not easy. Tomatoes have a tendency to periodically burst with a growth spurt. This usually occurs on the four days we are busy and don't tend to the garden. What ends up happening, if you are like me, the tomato suckers get large and we just can't remove that lush growth. 

So... we end up with a tomato plant that has multiple main growth stems. That is perfectly fine as long as you make sure you thin the tomato out and let air circulate through the plant's center. I also recommend removing bottom growth to prevent soil splash and disease laddering. That is the process of disease starting on the bottom leaves and working its way up the plant. And finally you must stake the extra growth or the plant will fall over and snap.

Here are my container tomatoes thinned as of 6/11. 

Rutgers Variety

'Rutgers' Before Pruning
'Rutgers' After Pruning.
Notice the pile of removed leaves to the left and the suckers I removed to the right. The suckers will turn into large growth stems.

Black Krim Variety

'Black Krim' Before Pruning
'Black Krim' After Pruning.
More leaves and suckers.

Bradley Variety

'Bradley' Before Pruning.
'Bradley' After Pruning.
 A large amount of leaves removed. It is hard to believe you can remove so much growth. Notice the space on the bottom of the plant and the open spaces in the middle.

Virginia Sweets Variety

'Virginia Sweets'  Before Pruning
'Virginia Sweets' After Pruning
The 'Virginia Sweets' is an heirloom striped beefsteak. It gets 1 pound fruits and because of that it get a very large container to grow in. I also planted onions around it.

If you click on the pictures they will enlarge. You will notice that none of these tomatoes are pruned to only one growth stem for reasons I stated. I do however, have several single stems tomatoes I will blog about later. It is yet another experiement.

These are container tomatoes and the key is to keep them well watered. You also have to keep the fertilized. 

Pruning is not a science nor an art. It is just something you should do regularly with the best intentions. Tomatoes want to grow and as long as you don't over prune, they will keep growing upward.

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