how to prune tomato plants - Knowledgebase Question

Deltona, Fl
Question by yorkienut2
March 21, 2010
Every year I grow tomato plants and they become very tall and only produce a minimal amount of tomatoes. I fertilize and water am I am not pruning do I need to be doing that?


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Answer from NGA
March 21, 2010

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Poor fruit production might be a result of the varieties you are growing or the times of year you are planting. As a rule, tomato plants stop producing when temperatures soar above 90F. Determinate (one-crop) varieties require minimal staking (if any) and no pruning. Indeterminate (long-season) tomatoes should be staked and pruned or pinched. A single sturdy stake or a narrow cage is all you need for determinate tomatoes. Pruning is simply a matter of removing the suckers (small shoots) that appear in the leaf axils of the main shoot to create a single-stemmed plant. Some gardeners swear by pruning and others prefer to simply let the plants grow as they may. Some tomato varieties recommended for Florida include:
`Floradel' ? Fruit large red. Resistant to Fusarium wilt (1); gray leafspot; and graywall.

`Tropic' ? a hard one to find, but worth looking for. Fruit large red. Resistant to Fusarium wilt (1); vert. wilt; gray leafspot; graywall.

`Manalucie' ? Large red fruit. Resistant to: Fusarium wilt (1); early blight; gray leafspot; graywall; leaf mold.

`Better Boy' ? nationwide favorite that does well in Florida. Resistant to Fusarium wilt (1); vert. wilt, and root-knot nematodes.

`Bonnie Best' ? grows better in North Florida than South Florida. Medium size red fruit. Likes cages.

`Manapal' ? old Florida variety. Medium size red fruit.

`Bragger' ? Has produced good yields of 1-pound fruits in organic amended soils.

Best wishes with your tomatoes.

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