When it comes to planting vegetables, there is a lot more to it than just sticking plants into the ground and watering them. Especially when it comes to growing tomatoes. To get a good yield of tomatoes from your tomato plants, it's important to know a few of the different things you'll need to do to care for your tomato plants. Which is why it's good to know a thing or two about pruning your tomatoes. One reason you want to prune your tomato plant is that when tomatoes are pruned, they will have better airflow and thus catch fewer diseases. When you prune tomato plants, they will have fewer leaves all over, which allows for more air to move through them.
Fewer leaves also mean that the leaves will dry faster after showers, and therefore be less vulnerable to diseases that need moisture to develop. Plus, when you have fewer leaves, it will be easier to spot insect pests that could be hidden by a lot of leaves. Pruning your tomatoes will yield bigger fruits. Another benefit of pruning tomatoes at the right time is that it directs the plant's energy toward producing and ripening the fruit, rather than using all that energy to produce a head of leaves. You will probably have fewer fruits on a pruned plant, but they will be bigger fruits. And because pruned tomatoes can be grown closer together because the growth is vertical, you will have extra room for additional tomato plants to make up the difference in harvest numbers.
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Pruning your tomatoes will ripen the fruit earlier. This is because with fewer fruits for the plant to take care of the fruit will ripen faster. This is especially helpful in short-season climates, where getting a tomato harvest is often a scramble against time and changeable weather conditions. So when is the best time to prune your tomato plants? You can start pruning them once they have reached about 12 to 18 inches in height. All you do is remove the young suckers while they are in the bud, and you can pinch them cleanly off with your fingertips.
You can also clip off the larger branches of the plant that only have leaves on them with no buds and the leaves that are closer to the bottom of the plant so the plant can have a hearty root system. This will also protect your tomato plants from diseases that are present in the soil. Just make sure not to remove the leaves directly below or above the flowers or fruit. After you're done pruning, you can put the clippings in your compost bin. Your tomato plants should also have a strong vertical support, such as a trellis or a stake to help them stay upright and you should make sure to make any adjustments as you're pruning so that your plant is fully supported. Once you've pruned your plants, you'll notice that you have better, bigger fruit that ripens faster and healthier happier plants.