Tomato plant is one of the best-grown garden plants. It has a tendency to grow much larger than its allotted area. If it is allowed to grow with no pruning, it can consume an area around 4-square feet. Pruning a tomato plant becomes essential, so as to curtail its growth within the confined space. Another advantage of pruning is that it helps in keeping the fruit off the ground and thus, keeps it healthy. Pruning minimizes the plant’s risk of incurring diseases. However, tomato plant needs to be pruned carefully or else, you might end up hampering the harvest completely. It should be done in such a way that it leads to a healthy growth of the plant. In the following lines, we bring you tips on how to prune tomato plants effectively, without harming them.
Pruning A Tomato Plant
- The ideal time to prune a tomato plant would be when it has grown beyond the area it was confined to. Make sure you use sharp clean shears while pruning, otherwise the risk of a disease, if any, spreading to other parts increases.
- All through the growing season, pinch the branch tips. This makes the plant grow bushy and full. Whenever you pinch a branch, ensure that you remove only the last set of two leaves, including the stem.
- If there are any dead or faded foliage, remove it from the plant. However, do not cut the branches that are green and flowering.
- Remove the leaves growing below the first cluster of flower. Make sure that every leaf section gets enough space to grow and also receives ample sunshine.
- In case, there are any unwanted or non-blooming branches, cut the entire portion. However, remember to keep some leaves for providing shade and preventing sunscald to the growing fruit.
- Always grow the plant on a trellis, such that it consumes less space in the garden. Vertical growth of the plant is also a healthy sign. In case, you find that the plant bears some stray branches, tuck them in the trellis. You can cut these branches down, if they do not bear flowers.
- If there are too many branches in the plant that are spread out, you can tie them up and help them grow in a single direction.
- Tomato plant is a kind of vine and has the tendency to sprawl on the ground. In case, the fruit touches ground, it can become rotten or get attacked by slugs. So, direct the plant to grow vertically or on the trellis.
- Tomato plant has deep roots and hence needs less water. So, do not water the plant regularly or excessively. This will make the plant bear fruit with intense tomato flavor. Requirement for water reduces once the plant blooms and begins to bear fruit.
- Avoid using too much of fertilizer for the plant. Too much of water and fertilizer may make the plant to grow lush green, but will leave it with no fruit. The developing fruit may also drop, due to excess water and fertilizer.
- Dig some crushed eggshells around the tomato plant. They provide required calcium to the plant and prevent the fungal disease called Blossom End Rot, from attacking the plant.