Author Topic: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?  (Read 541 times)

newspud9

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Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« on: July 28, 2020, 21:58:21 »
i'm growing indeterminate tomatoes outside in pots..don't know the variety but I think they're cherry tomatoes.  Doing well, about 5', some fruit beginning....but so much foliage!  I know to remove suckers and branches in the bottom 18" but I'm wondering if all the bare branches is slowing down fruit development.  As a ballpark, can anyone say how much foliage to keep/remove. Thanks for all the advice.   

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Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« on: July 28, 2020, 21:58:21 »

Tiny Clanger

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 10:36:41 »
If they are indeterminate, remove side shoots.  you can also cut back on some of the greenery.  I would say not to go too mad but you want fruit not a forest.Once you have a good lot of set fruit and trusses showing well, more greenery can be removed.  Hope this helps.
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Tee Gee

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2020, 11:43:23 »
I rarely did this but when I did I only cut off leaves that were shading the truss/ s as I hoped this would help the ripening process!


JanG

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 05:22:41 »
I think it’s fine to remove almost all the foliage in the bottom two feet if the plants are vigorous - and it sounds as though yours are. But perhaps not until the first tomatoes are at least half size.
I always tend to overcrowd my tomato plants and cutting down some of the forest helps air as well as sun get through.

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 08:35:56 »
I think it’s fine to remove almost all the foliage in the bottom two feet if the plants are vigorous - and it sounds as though yours are. But perhaps not until the first tomatoes are at least half size.
I always tend to overcrowd my tomato plants and cutting down some of the forest helps air as well as sun get through.
Agree, started 'pruning' my outdoor ones yesterday. Any secondary growth from the ground up to the first truss. Any yellowing leaf, and to gain access, shorten to half way, any crossing branch.More biomass!
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Beersmith

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2020, 17:53:52 »
I remove some foliage but mainly to allow good air circulation.

If there is a lot of foliage, I don't see that as a worry in itself. It is the photosynthesis in the leaves that provides the energy to grow the fruit. Also I am not sure that direct sunlight actually causes faster ripening.

Instead, I try to control the number of flowers and fruit trusses on the plant.  Not much point in getting to late summer with bushes still covered in flowers and hundreds of tiny green tomatoes that will never get to any size and will not ripen.  Outdoors and with our climate four good trusses is a sensible target.
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newspud9

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2020, 15:39:37 »
Lot of useful advice here..many thanks.  Now just checking if there's anything left at all after today's heat with the needle nudging 36 degrees.

BarriedaleNick

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2020, 09:28:45 »
I only ever take the bottom leaves off as and when they start to look a bit tired - they tend to die off naturally.
I think some people tend to fight blight by removing all the leaves once there looks like there is a decent amount of toms..

Beersmith

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2020, 18:40:18 »
I only ever take the bottom leaves off as and when they start to look a bit tired - they tend to die off naturally.
I think some people tend to fight blight by removing all the leaves once there looks like there is a decent amount of toms..

We have been remarkably free from blight this season in this location.

But as you say, it's an entirely different issue trying to salvage a crop once blight hits. In my experience it destroys the lot - leaves, stems, fruit, everything - and often very quickly too.
Not mad, just out to mulch!

Beersmith

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2020, 18:47:23 »
I only ever take the bottom leaves off as and when they start to look a bit tired - they tend to die off naturally.
I think some people tend to fight blight by removing all the leaves once there looks like there is a decent amount of toms..

We have been remarkably free from blight this season in this location.

But as you say, it's an entirely different issue trying to salvage a crop once blight hits. In my experience it destroys the lot - leaves, stems, fruit, everything - and often very quickly too.
Not mad, just out to mulch!

saddad

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2020, 22:41:04 »
Shhhs.... don't use the "B" word...

Deb P

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2020, 07:21:20 »
I have learned to only attempt growing bush tomatoes outdoors, they ripen earlier than cordon varieties  and for the last few years I get good crops before blight hits them.....which it inevitably does then the plants melt overnight! I did well with ‘Latah’ last year, and they are already ripening now, also trialling a couple of new to me varieties for comparison  ‘Early Sandpoint’ I think it’s called, and the HSL Burbank bush has also previously done well. Agree once blight hits everything just melts overnight, you might get a few days grace to pick everything, wash it well and hope they ripen off the vine but most fruit will still develop blight even then!
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Jeannine

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 05:56:38 »
I let my pruning get away from me this year and in a bit over a week I had a jungle, so had no choice but to cut back much more than I would usualy do and thos took me a week to do.. I noticed one odd thing thougth, all my first tomaties were huge, I planted 10 varieties and 8 of then threw whoppers. I pulled my biggest last week and it was 3lbs 6 1/2 ounces. That beats my personal best.I have something nibling on them so I have to grab them before they are fully ripe
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saddad

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Re: Tomatoes - how much foliage to remove?
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 06:43:13 »
Probably tomato moth caterpillars... they are hard to find at the best of times, but much harder if there is lots of foliage.  :wave: