Tomato plants can get pretty bushy when left to grow wild and free. As a gardener, seeing all that green can be exciting because your plant is growing. But what if there isn’t much actual tomato fruit on there? Can a tomato plant be too bushy?
Tomato plants can be too bushy, resulting in stunted growth. Tomato plants that are too bushy result in restricted sunlight reduced air circulation, and increased moisture buildup.
You can give them a trim to avoid tomato plants getting too bushy, and we’re here to tell you how. Apart from proper technique, we’ve got six tomato pruning mistakes that you should avoid, shaping your plant up safely to allow it to grow to its full potential.
Are Bushy Tomato Plants Good?
Just because tomato plants are bushy doesn’t mean the tomatoes are not good. You can still pick and eat them when they’re ripe, though you might not get as much harvest as expected. Bushy tomato plants can lower yield due to all of the extra vines attached.
Bushy tomato plants can also get in the way of tomatoes produced around the bottom of the tomato plant, restricting their access to light. It’s best to keep tomato plants trimmed to avoid lots of excess vines and leaves and to allow them to produce maximum yield.
How To Thin A Bushy Tomato Plant?
When your tomato plants get bushy, it’s time to give them a trim. When trimming, make sure that you don’t get scissor happy and prune correctly to avoid cutting viable stems. To thin out your bushy tomato plant, try:
The Simple Method
For this, focus on suckers, the small stems that appear in the “V” shape between the main stem and additional branches. These are considered extra growth and can take nutrients away from your tomato plant. Additionally, they can lead to overcrowding, which can decrease airflow and cause your plant to look messy.
The “Snips” Method
With the “snips” method, gardeners have a way to tame plants that have gotten out of hand. Some include suckers that have grown very tall, which could shock the plant if cut completely. Snipping involves only removing the tip, reducing the reaction from the plant. The suckers will stop stealing nutrients, allowing the main stems to get as much as they need to keep growing.
6 Tomato Pruning Mistakes to Avoid
Pruning takes some practice, but you can trim up your tomato plant in no time when you learn what to look for. Before getting shearer happy, here are some pruning mistakes that you should avoid.
#1. Pruning Determinants
There are different types of tomatoes, some known as determinants. These determinates don’t need pruning like other plants, as their sprouting pattern is part of their genetics. Before taking off and trimming your tomato plant, make sure that you know the variety of tomato you are growing and whether or not it is determinant.
#2. Pruning While Wet
It can make sense to start trimming tomato plants after watering them or after rain but trimming while wet can be dangerous. Creating openings into the plant’s vascular system can lead to the spread of bacteria or fungus, both of which love moist conditions.
Don’t trim when freshly watered or after a rain, and be sure to trim leaves and stems brushing the soil if you live in an area with a moist climate. Doing this can prevent the development of harmful pathogens that could kill your tomato plants or your entire crop.
#3. Pruning Tools
Pruning tools also come into contact with your plant’s vascular system. Over time, these tools can become dull and rusty, leading to bacteria buildup. Tools also come into contact with lots of dirt and moisture while in use, which can host bacteria and fungus. Because of these reasons that it’s critical to keep tools cleanly sharpened, avoiding any buildup of harmful bacteria.
Give tools a good cleaning after each use, using water and a bit of disinfectant that will not harm your plants. Add a bit of lubricant on the blades to prevent rust and keep them in good shape for long-term use. When storing, make sure that they are completely dry and store than in a warm, dry place. Before using them for pruning, make sure they are nice and sharp, allowing you to trim everything you want and nothing you don’t.
#4. Not Pruning Enough
It can be surprising how fast tomato plants grow. Letting them go even just a few days without checking them can result in the growth of suckers and tomatoes, both of which can weigh your plant down. When you notice tomatoes starting to sprout, it’s best to check them often.
Make it a habit to check for ripe tomatoes each day and gently cut them off. Also, check for the appearance of new suckers, stopping them before they can sprout up too large and steal key nutrients from your tomato plant.
#5. Pruning Too Much
On the contrary, you also don’t want to get too happy with your shearers. You should leave a few leaves to provide some shade to tomatoes, as these will prevent any scalding on the skin from direct sun exposure. Try to keep a good balance of foliage and tomatoes, helping your plant optimize nutrition for growth.
Once you notice growth, go easy on the trimming, only selecting suckers that don’t serve any purpose for your plant and the tomatoes it’s producing.
#6. Not Topping Main Stems
Before the end of the season, growers should trim the terminal shoot just above the last sprout. This redirects the dispersal of sugars, leaving your plant to give nutrients to areas where tomatoes are produced and refrain from producing new stems. This is best done right before the end of the season, giving you one last harvest of ripe, plump tomatoes.
While you can let nature run its course, you can help optimize your tomato plant’s growth by giving it a trim. When tomato plants get too bushy, they can suffer, resulting in less growth and more risk of contracting harmful bacterial and fungal diseases. Keep them nice, neat, and trimmed, ensuring that you avoid pruning mistakes and only snip off what is not needed.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
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