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Old 1 Week Ago   #16
slugworth
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I also clone cucumber plants.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #17
jhouse
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Found this quote during a google search which sounds interesting:

"In warmer zones, though, experts often recommend practicing what’s known as Missouri pruning, where you pinch off the leaflets on the end of each sucker, leaving only the two base leaflets in place. As these leaves enlarge, they help shade fruit and protect it from sunscald."
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Old 1 Week Ago   #18
Nematode
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Single stem trained up a string with tomato clips.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #19
AKmark
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If you are going for the most tomatoes in a given space you will prune to one stem.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #20
gorbelly
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I prune the bottoms to keep foliage away from the soil, prune off diseased foliage, and thin out foliage in the inside of very dense plants for airflow. In the latter case, I figure that internal foliage doesn't get a lot of sun anyway and probably doesn't contribute too much to photosynthesis/production of yield and flavor, so pruning it to increase airflow is a good tradeoff if it helps delay/control disease.

Other than these, I let plants grow as they will.

As for increased yields from single-stem plants, the jury is still out on that. What it does do is make pest/disease control easier, as well as harvest. And if you have limited space but want to grow many different varieties, it's a good strategy.

But, personally, I grow my own tomatoes for the superior flavor, not for market, and the photosynthesis in the foliage drives production of sugars, acids, flavor compounds. I don't see the point in reducing that foliage without a compelling reason. At any rate, I get fantastic production with largely unpruned plants except for the reasons I noted above.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #21
jhouse
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All good information. i didn't realize there were so many different schools of thought on pruning, or even whether to prune.

I'm just growing to enjoy them, I have always had way more than I need. So more yield doesn't matter much. Really it's just for blight control. Realistically, with our humid weather (and living downwind of a semi commercial tomato operation), I think blight is a given in my case. So what Gorbelly says may make the most sense in my case -- I've known that better ventilation is needed, but have not been entirely sure how to accomplish that in the best way for the plant.

I'm growing 6 plants, about 2 feet high at this point, all I've done so far is remove bottom foliage and removed some suckers. I may try a few different things with different plants to see what happens and what might work for my situation.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #22
AKmark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorbelly View Post

As for increased yields from single-stem plants, the jury is still out on that. What it does do is make pest/disease control easier, as well as harvest. And if you have limited space but want to grow many different varieties, it's a good strategy.
You are not understanding the single stem pruning. We are not after the most tomatoes per plant, we are after the most tomatoes in a given space. I grow two plants per five gallon container and can pack around 500 plants in a 30x96 square foot area. You will never beat the yield results if you do not prune. You may get a 100 unpruned pants in that area.
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Last edited by AKmark; 6 Days Ago at 12:48 PM.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #23
Hunt-Grow-Cook
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Fantastic Mark. Cant argue that one bit. The size and quality of fruit is usually better when pruned as well, at least in my experience. Id take 10 nice full tomatoes from a single leader plant, over 30 small ones from multiple leaders any day. I do grow multiple ways, but always enjoy the look and fruit quality on single stem plants. Although once I reach a certain point in the season I stop suckering, more so due to laziness. (Old picture for reference.)
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Old 6 Days Ago   #24
jtjmartin
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Wow! AKmark's picture is hard to argue with.

90% of my plants are single stem with clips.

My "extra" tomatoes still go into cages and I keep the bottom branches pruned.

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Old 6 Days Ago   #25
NicolasGarcia
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I think the purpose of pruning is different depending on the kind of tomato we have. Sometimes, such as cherry tomatoes, we are interested in having many small tomatoes.

However, other times we want the tomatoes to be larger. To do this, we will cut in certain areas, to redirect the nutrients assimilated by the plant to the tomatoes.
The first step to prune our tomato plants is to find out what variety we are growing. As you know, there are many varieties of tomato, of different sizes, colors and shapes.
It will be necessary to cut the upper part of the stem of the plant to get the best out of the last outbreaks of the season. In this way we will allow the nutrients to concentrate in the tomatoes.
After trying for a few years, pruning it to a single stem, pruning it with 5 stems and pruning it with 3 main stems, I keep the stems with 3 unique branches, I exceed storage tomatoes, dwarf plants, micro-plants and the cherry tomatoes.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #26
gorbelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKmark View Post
You are not understanding the single stem pruning.
Nope. I understand it fine.

It's great for areas with short growing seasons or 2 short growing seasons. It also works for commercial settings, greenhouses, etc.

And it's great for showing off the tomatoes that *have* set.

Studies show that pruning produces more marketable yield, i.e., large, regular-looking fruit. But unpruned plants produce more overall yield *per hectare*, i.e., if you don't care about all kinds of different sizes and other irregularities that affect only aesthetics, you get more total tomato mass from unpruned plants per hectare.

And then there's the issue of flavor, which is even harder to find firm answers on, although general research shows a direct correlation between amount of foliage and better tomato flavor.

As with many gardening strategies that have been hotly debated for centuries, It Depends On Your Goals And Preferences.

Unfortunately, you can only see what the foliage lets you see, but this is one plant, and there were many more clusters of fruit on it in the rear and interior of the plant, and this is at <5 feet. I don't see a large difference in potential fruit in multiple plants pruned to one stem, and I certainly see more fruit happening late in the season on an entire plant vs. three that have been single-stem pruned and require a complicated support system. More fruit for less effort? That's my priority. Whether they're all big and pretty doesn't matter that much to me. Of course, as with everything tomato, some varieties may, indeed, produce more per area when pruned.


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Old 6 Days Ago   #27
SueCT
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Not everyone is after highest yield per foot, but I did not get those results anyway when I pruned severly, and I had one diseased stem with tomatoes that had sun scald and few leaves, so YMMV. Not pruning to one stem does not necessarily indicate a lack of understanding, no matter how strongly you personally believe it is the best and right way. I can't argue with your success with it, but in my personal experience, that was not true for me.

This is a plant I pruned more severely, and tomato production was not great at all.
My tomatoes #1 by Susan Albetski, on Flickr

These are of plants that I did not prune at all. I can't post photos like you do because I don't let mine ripen on the vine, I pick at first blush. Even if I had more tomatoes than you, you wouldn't be able to see them all because they are hidden, and protected, by the leaves. I would have to walk all the way around each plant and still couldn't show all of the tomatoes.

My tomatoes #2 by Susan Albetski, on Flickr

My tomato plants mid summer by Susan Albetski, on Flickr

You are obviously having great success with your method. That is great. But for me, my method worked better. In addition, if l left all those ripe tomatoes on the vine, most would have holes in them, be partially eaten, or cracking. Not to mention sun scald and other issues. So experiment, and see what works for you. I don't think there is one correct way.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #28
Dewayne mater
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Through the years I've gone from let em be, to trim up from the bottom, to keep them in the Texas tomato cages until settling in on Bill's method. I admit I haven't had the guts to go to single stem like Mark, but I"m happy with what I get from 2 or 3 stems, lowering and leaning. This has resulted in a natural far lower amount of disease and insects that are then more easily controlled with spraying. My other garden, in containers, gets all suckers trimmed and some limitations of stems, but not as much as my soil garden. Typically, the container garden gets hit much harder with disease and insects and a ton of damage can be done quickly bc of the close quarters. In N. Tx it tends to be hot, humid and full of bugs. If you don't prune here, then you lose to the elements pretty fast...at least I do.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #29
gorbelly
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It's also important to remember that, yes, you can crowd more plants together when single-stem-pruned, but many tomato varieties still require some root room to be happiest. Having plants that close together comes with the drawback of crowded root systems.

I think these sorts of tradeoffs are another reason why the situation is ambiguous enough that nobody's really been able to 100% determine that pruning is better than not pruning or vice versa.

Pretty sure you'd get different outcomes for each variety, too.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #30
gorbelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewayne mater View Post
Through the years I've gone from let em be, to trim up from the bottom, to keep them in the Texas tomato cages until settling in on Bill's method. I admit I haven't had the guts to go to single stem like Mark, but I"m happy with what I get from 2 or 3 stems, lowering and leaning. This has resulted in a natural far lower amount of disease and insects that are then more easily controlled with spraying. My other garden, in containers, gets all suckers trimmed and some limitations of stems, but not as much as my soil garden. Typically, the container garden gets hit much harder with disease and insects and a ton of damage can be done quickly bc of the close quarters. In N. Tx it tends to be hot, humid and full of bugs. If you don't prune here, then you lose to the elements pretty fast...at least I do.
Yeah, I don't think anyone would argue against the decision to prune in Texas. The point is that there are no absolutes. It's all about growing conditions primarily, and I don't think anyone can make absolutist statements about what is "best" without that context. Secondarily, it's about personal priorities and preferences.
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