Late last season when my tomato plants had almost played out for the season due to some fungus issues that I wasn’t able to control, someone told me about aggressively pruning tomato plants (indeterminate varieties) to maximize yields and extend the growing season by keeping plants healthy and productive. This was something new to me, and since the season was pretty much over because my plants had stopped producing I didn’t get a chance to try this technique. Fast forward to this season, I’m a believer…
I think it’s important to point out that pruning will only help extend the season of your indeterminate varieties and you probably shouldn’t even worry about this if you have determinate plants. If you want to learn more about the difference, see a recent post I did on why I plant indeterminate varieties…
The goal of pruning your plants is to:
- Creates Strong & Sturdy Infrastructure (1-4 Stems)
- Keeps the plant at a manageable size.
- Keeps leaves and fruit off the ground, eliminates a lot of issues
- Allows for even sun coverage of plants (leaves not covering other leaves and hindering photosynthesis & production of plant sugars).
- Allows air circulation to the center of the plant to help deter diseases and insects and also promotes healthy growth.
Educate Yourself Beforehand… I highly recommend watching several youtube videos of people pruning their tomato plants before you go into your garden and start whacking around. I think it’s also worth mentioning that I think everyone probably has their own way of pruning their plants, I know that I’ve taken several methods and sort of developed my own strategy (will post a youtube video one of these days on this).
In the meantime, I will be doing my second pruning of my tomato plants tomorrow. At this time they are approximately 10′ – 12′ tall… yes, you read that right. I have 10 plants that are producing a ton of tomatoes this season and are still producing heavily in the hottest part of July in the mid-south and they are 12′ tall in places. Without a doubt my best tomato crop in a raised bed.