pruning tomatoes

I vaguely recall once reading that cutting the lower (lowest?) side-shoots of your tomatoes cause something good to happen. True? If true, is there a 'window of opportunity' for doing it? Ours are about 1' high right now.
Thanks, George
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 12 Jun 2007 02:42:24 GMT, George wrote:

Hi George some varieties of tomatoes are bush tomatoes these you leave to get on with it and take out no side shoots. Others you can grow as a cordon. With this method you pinch out ALL the side shoots as they appear,or when you see them (not critical). When the plant has 3 or 4 trusses of flowers you pinch the top of the plant off and stop it growing. All the plants energies then goes into the forming fruit.
--
Regards From
Wane Smooth
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have never taken out the shoots on any of my tomato plants. More shoots, more tomatoes. I also do not take the top off of my indeterminant tomatoes.
--
Susan N.

"Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral,
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There are two schools of thoughts on tomatoes. One that prunes and one that does not. I do not. Organic Gardening Magazine once did an article on this subject and compared yield of a tomato plant both pruned and unpruned. The yield was the SAME. So in the end, I think it is an issue of esthetics and time you have available. They may look better pruned, but the season yield will aparently be the same. Enough said. Regards - Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As Susan said there are two types of tomatoes: determinant and indeterminate. Determinant grow like a bush and then stop. Indeterminate grow like a vine and don't stop. Just off hand, I can't think of one heirloom tomato that is a determinant. Maybe somebody will think of one. In the past, I've just let the tomato rip and enjoyed watching it climb until it finally toppled over its' support. My supports are only about 4' high but the tomato would go to over 6'. I suppose you could build a taller cage. Tomato toppers will tell you to top when the tomato gets to the top of its' cage. I've never been disappointed in my tomatoes productivity.
Thing is, when the tomato flops over, a lot of the plant that had been exposed to sunlight is now shaded by the flopped over top growth. I could cut that growth off but I would be wasting the energy that went into growing it. You see where I'm going with this? This year I'm topping, just to see what difference it makes. Hopefully, my tomatoes won't be so unkempt and more energy will go into making tomatoes or at least, in to making them earlier.
You will see that between the growing flowering tip and a side leaf a sprout (actually a sucker: sucks the energy out of the plant is the hypothesis). I don't believe these make flowers. Need to check that but it is vegetation. The reasoning is that with tomatoes, you don't want vegetation, you want fruit. One way or the other you'll have 'maters but at some point you may want to fine tune it. A whole lot of people say pruning and snipping is the way to do it.
I'll let you know how it works out for me.
- Billy Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A third school of thought ? I remove the suckers until the first set of blooms appear on the main stem. The theory being that all the initial energy, after the young plant is established, is going to produce a sturdier main stem and more or earlier blooms. After that, I remove any that get too large and in the way.
Suckers DO produce flowers and therefore tomatoes. I've found several cherry tomato varieties produce an abundance more with suckers left to their own thing, rather than pinching them. I can't speak for any other size or variety.
Graveyard Guy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And bim-batta-boom, we are wiser already.
Thank you Graveyard Guy,
- Bill Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.