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Question about removing leaves from tomato plants


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dmullins
Little Rock, AR
Posts: 35
Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:25 pm   Post subject: Question about removing leaves from tomato plants


Have been told that taking the lower leaves off a tomato plant will enhance growth/output. Any ideas or suggestions? Also, the rest of the garden is going full bore. Have corn stalks a/b waist hi already, toms are a/b 2ft high, and the cukes are showing life everywhere. Have peppers potted, and am fixing to move them into the gardens. Cool It looks like it's going to be a gonzo year. Very Happy Hope everyone has a fine and productive year, while we all get down and get dirty! Smile


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mart
NE Texas
Posts: 1662
Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 2:51 pm   


That is true if it is done at planting time !! I take the lower leaves off and plant as deep as possible !! You can also plant sideways by laying the plant down and only leaving the tops exposed !! They will form roots all along the buried stem !! Not sure that production is increased but they have extra feeder roots to extract nutrients from the soil !!

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gardentoad

Indiana
Posts: 73
Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 6:10 pm   


I also bury my tomatoes deep. I have also heard that removing the lower leaves after they are planted in the garden and growing will help reduce disease. The theory is that soil born diseases get splashed up on the lower leaves during rainy weather and travel up the plants.
I don't know if it is true or not but last year I removed the lower leaves on all of mine and I had healthier plants longer in the season. I eventually get wilted spotty leaves every year but last year I was able to harvest tomatoes until killer frosts, even though we had a wetter than normal season.

I plan to continue to remove the bottom leaves.

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bsewnsew


Posts: 2750
Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 9:10 pm   


I lay my tall tomatoes in a ditch like an bury them short. Pull off bottom leaves.

If you put too much compose on tomatoes, (like manure) you will get too many leaves an less fruit.

b

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Sjoerd

West - Friesland
Posts: 9108
Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 10:38 pm   


Removing leaves from cordon tomato types (indeterminate) increases air flow and thus decreases the threat of diseases associated with moisture.
It also allows more light to reach the ripening fruit.
Leaf branch removal does not actually increase the output but it does allow more "nutrition" to go to the fruits that have been formed in stead of going to side stems and leaves.
The main reason for pruning this type of tomato plant is to allow it to limit its growth to a central stem, off of which the trusses will hang.

One does not need to remove leaf branches in the bush type (determinate) of tomatos, because it's growth is self-limiting. However, if you feel that the air circulation is too congested, you may have to remove some selected leaves to improve air flow.
Again, removing leaf branches will not make them yield more, in fact the reverse may be true in the determinate plant.

Dwarf varities are already small as their name implies, removing too many leaves and leaf branches may stress these little plants too much.

I remove leaves in the seedling stage every time I pot-on to a larger pot because I plant the bare stems under the soil. I do this regularly until I actually plant the plant in its final location.

It was not clear to me if you were asking about removing leaves in seedlings or adult plants.

Good luck with your plants this year.

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Pricklypear
Southern Arizona
Posts: 241
Posted: Wed May 12, 2010 11:50 pm   


I cage my tomato plants rather than stake them or limit them to a main branch. Here in the desert it helps to have all the foliage I can to protect the tomatoes from our harsh sun.

However, as the season progresses I remove the bottom leaves and stems so that the plants don't come in contact with the soil(and possible soil borne disease). I also mulch the area under the plants.

I doubt this has anything to do with production beyond the fact that the plants are less susceptible to disease.

I think it's worth doing. I picked two trays of green tomatoes the day before the predicted first freeze October 27, 09. I let them ripen in the back room. We ate our last garden tomato on December 6th. I'm still smug about it.

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bsewnsew


Posts: 2750
Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 12:10 am   


I caged mine an the wind blows the whole dang thing over..

I need sky hooks.

b

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fish_4_all
Zone 8-9 Washington
Posts: 627
Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:54 pm   


I remove lower ones to bury the plant deep. Will take of lower ones to prevent soil born disease but only the ones I can not hold up off the ground with a cage or trellis.

Remember to remove those suckers though. They don't produce fruit from what I have read. All they do is take away energy from fruit production. I am not positive on what they look like but they are described as "new growth at the joint of a major branch off the main stem". I think I have some starting to grow but I pinched off the plant so I don't know for sure.

Those are the only leaves I have read to pinch off regularly. hopefully someone will confirm this as I have only read it and ot actually done it, yet.

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bsewnsew


Posts: 2750
Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 5:39 pm   


Beats me

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mart
NE Texas
Posts: 1662
Posted: Thu May 13, 2010 6:15 pm   


Suckers can occur anywhere on the plant that two branches connect !! Shortly after planting they will be at the V of the main stem and side branches !! As the plant grows they can be at any V on the plant !! They do need to come off if possible which allows more nutrients/water for the main fruit bearing part of the plant !! You can snip or pinch them off !! You can put them in moist soil and they will root if you wish !! I can`t remember what type fruit they have if the tomatoes are hybrid !! If its the same as the mother plant or not !! I think it is, but its been a few years since I have rooted the suckers !! I always have so many tomato plants that I don`t need them !!

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Growingpains
Michigan
Posts: 357
Posted: Mon May 17, 2010 11:24 pm   


I read that we should leave the two main stems below those that have buds. That would be, we have the branches which have tomato buds. Then we have two main branches below that. Any branches below those can be carefully nipped off. If we leave them on, they can bear fruit, but it will be smaller fruit. In other words, more fruit, but smaller fruit. This is for indeterminate plants, as posted above.
As to staking, I cage mine and use a steel stake to hold the cage upright. You must drive the stake deeply ito the ground after interlacing it through the cage rings.
May we all be eating juicey tomatoes soon, from our very own gardens.

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