How to prune cherry tomato plants is a process that you must start when your plants mature enough but early enough in the planting season. You also need to mark the suckers and leaves that have to go.
Pruning these tomatoes will be much easier for you after reading this article, so continue reading for all the tips you need.
- How to Prune Cherry Tomato Plants in Detailed Steps?
- How To Know When to Prune Your Cherry Tomatoes
- How to Prune Cherry Tomatoes for Maximum Yield
How to Prune Cherry Tomato Plants in Detailed Steps?
To prune cherry tomato plants in detailed steps, you must first know the best time to prune, then you must prepare your tools, and select the parts to be pruned. Then, start the process, and remove the cut leaves and branches, water the plant, and continue monitoring it.
1. Know the Best Time to Prune
You don’t just prune your tomato plants whenever you want, so you must be patient and aim to wait for a proper amount of time to do so. Wait for their active growing season before you prune them, especially in their vegetative phase. This means that you will most likely prune the plants in the late spring or summer months.
If you intend to prune the tomatoes to increase fruit production, wait until you see a significant number of flowers before you prune the plants. However, if you just want to remove sick leaves from your tomatoes, you can remove them whenever you want and don’t have to wait for a specific time.
2. Prepare Your Tools
Make sure that you have your pruning tools ready with you, so you may also need to sterilize them properly using some rubbing alcohol. This is because some tomato pruning mistakes you should avoid are using dirty tools to prune the plants, as this error can lead to losing your tomatoes. Using dirty tools can expose your tomatoes to harmful microbes present in the tools, and these microbes lead to your plants getting diseases.
3. Find and Select the Parts to Prune
You don’t just prune anything you see attached to your tomatoes, because you have to select the parts to prune. What you prune off your tomatoes depends on your intention to prune the plants. Some parts of your tomatoes that you can prune are suckers, leaves, and branches.
The suckers are outgrowths that you can find between the stem and a branch, so you can also find suckers between two or more branches. As for the leaves and branches, you will prune off the sick and unproductive ones while leaving the others. Mark out every part of your tomatoes that you will prune off.
4. Start the Pruning Process
After marking the parts of the plants to prune, it is time to prune the plants. For this, you must ensure that you use very clean tools so that you do not expose the tomatoes to harm. When your tools are ready, prune your way up. This means that you must begin to start with the lower leaves and end with the upper ones.
When you finish pruning the plant, walk a few steps backward and take a look at the plant. Remove every part that you may have forgotten to prune off. To learn how to prune cherry tomato plants in pots, check for suckers growing near the base of the plant and prune them off.
5. Remove the Cut Leaves and Branches
After pruning your plants, keep them neat, and you should do so by removing all the cut branches, leaves, and suckers. Do not use these fallen parts as mulch for your tomatoes, as they will attract pests that can harm the tomatoes. Take them far from the plant, and if you like, you can throw them into the compost pile.
6. Water Your Plant
When your tomatoes are tidy, it is time to water them. Remember that your plants lost a lot of water while you were pruning them. To help them heal from the stress quickly, water them. Pour water on the substrate and spray the leaves with water droplets.
Pruning increases leaf production, so fertilize your plants if the soil is not nutrient-rich enough. Without sufficient nutrients in the soil, your pruned tomatoes will get a deficiency of some nutrients.
7. Continue to Monitoring
You are done pruning your plants. However, do not abandon them. Continue to monitor them for infected more unwanted parts. If your tomatoes grow more branches, they will likely grow suckers as well. Prune tomatoes with the new suckers.
If more discolored or diseased leaves come, do not prune them immediately. First, know the cause and try to fix it, and after fixing it, prune off the affected leaves and branches. To study more of the plant’s behavior or reaction, check and see, do they look stressed and weak after a few days. If so, shade them from the hot sun until they heal from the stress of pruning.
You should prune your tomatoes as often as you can if your intention to prune them is to remove sick branches and leaves. However, prune them just once if you intend to boost their fruit production. Pruning them too often when they’re fruiting can be too stressful.
How To Know When to Prune Your Cherry Tomatoes
To know when to prune your cherry tomato, try to see the unproductive branches and when you find spaces left in your plant. Moreover, check for sick branches and leaves, and the plant has a slow growth rate, and lastly, check for infestations from pests or diseases.
– Seeing Unproductive Branches on the Plant
Wait until the plant starts producing flowers. Are there branches without flowers? If those branches stay without flowers two weeks after you see the first flower, you can prune them off if you want. Pruning them off will force the plant to send nutrients to the flowering branches. This will lead to the plant bearing healthier fruits.
However, note that those unproductive branches contribute to supplying the plant with energy through photosynthesis. To elaborate further, even if you want to remove unproductive parts from the tomatoes, ensure that the plants still have enough leaves for the photosynthesis process to develop further.
– Finding Spacing in Your Tomatoes
Growing indeterminate tomato plants such as cherries usually leads to a spacing problem, especially if you need to properly space the plants when transplanting them to their substrate. Lack of space between the plants can lead to low air circulation and increased pest attacks.
If you have a trellis or cage, hang the plants and try to space them; however, prune off the leaves that are growing above others, especially if they are unproductive.
– Having Sick Branches and Leaves
If you see that your plants look out of the normal, you have to prune off the discolored or spotted leaves; however, you must remember that pruning is not the cure for sick plants, it is only a way to clean them out, as it is a process involved in helping sick plants. The remaining leaves might become discolored if you prune the plants without treating them.
After treating your tomatoes, you may notice that the discolored leaves are not turning green. This is why you have to remove them. Remove them so that your plant does not continue sending them nutrients.
– Having a Slow Growth Rate
If you think that your tomatoes need to grow more slowly, then you must try to monitor their growth, while comparing them with others, for a few weeks. If their growth rate is slow, find the cause. When growing tomatoes, you may notice that the ones growing in unsuitable conditions grow slowly.
After optimizing the conditions, such as the temperature of your tomatoes, prune off some branches. Try pruning these branches because it will encourage the plants to grow more leaves. These new leaves and branches will grow at a faster rate so long as the conditions are suitable for your tomatoes.
– When Infested with Pests or Diseases
When you grow tomatoes, you will notice that they are exposed to a wide range of pest attacks. Pests such as insects and fungi regularly attack tomatoes, so continue to watch out for them.
If your plants have pests, use a pesticide to remove the pests; in addition to this, do remember that you cannot undo the damage done by the pests. After fixing the pest problem, prune off the attacked leaves. This will help protect the unaffected leaves from any form of infection.
Moreover, pruning tomorrow can prevent diseases, and if you prune the sick leaves and branches off a sick tomato, you will prevent the disease from spreading to other tomatoes. Note that pruning cherry tomatoes does not completely eliminate their chance of getting a disease.
Before pruning your sick tomatoes, ensure you know the disease’s cause. Also, fix the disease so that it does not come back again. Only prune your tomatoes after you are sure that the problem has been fixed.
How to Prune Cherry Tomatoes for Maximum Yield
To prune cherry tomatoes for maximum yield, you must wait for the plant to begin blooming, and then remove its unproductive branches. After this, you must check for suckers, if it has, and remove the growing ones; lastly, make sure always to remove the discolored and sick leaves and branches.
1. Wait for the Plant to Bloom
If you want more fruits, wait until the plant produces flowers before you start pruning them. Check for branches without flowers. These are the branches that you will remove. Make sure that you wait a few weeks after the plants produce their first flowers so that you can be sure that those branches truly do not bear flowers because how to trim tomato plants to produce more fruit is quite different from the general pruning steps.
2. Remove Unproductive Branches
To prune tomato plants for increased production of fruits, remove the branches without flowers and fruits. Please remove just a few of them and not all. The remaining ones will help support the flowering and fruiting branches with photosynthesis. Also, there is still a high chance that the remaining ones will produce flowers and fruits later.
3. Check for and Remove Growing Suckers
Just before the plant starts fruiting, remove all the excess suckers, especially those growing far from the productive branches. As for the suckers that are near the flowering or fruiting branches, leave them so that you do not stress their branches.
Ensure that you would stop pruning your plants when they produce fruits. They need as much energy as possible, and pruning them stresses them a lot. Do all the pruning that you need to do before fruit production starts because this is a way that it will grow further, in the long run without any stress.
4. Remove Discolored and Sick Leaves or Branches
It does not matter if your tomatoes are fruiting or not; remove the sick leaves and branches. Removing them can keep the fruits free from harm. Your plants only need simple pruning for their diseased leaves. As for the tomato suckers that grow when the plant is fruiting, leave them. Now you know how to prune cherry tomato plants for maximum yield, right?
Pruning tomatoes will be easier for you now, and when you have your tools ready, remember the following points:
- When it’s late season, don’t prune your plants. However, you can continue removing sick leaves from the plants.
- Avoid pruning the main stems of your indeterminate tomatoes so that you do not give your cherries more stress that they can’t heal from.
- Ensure that your tools are very sharp so that they can cut the tomato branches at once.
- If you have different tomato varieties of your garden, remember that they have different pruning methods.
- When your plants are already producing fruits, do not stress them by pruning them.
It is time to prune your cherries, so remember to use only sterilized tools for the plants you will see your plant growing and showing a fruitful result.
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