Re: How far can I prune tomatoe plants?



The heck with the other stuff--forget it- tomatoes rule!!

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TORENGI said:

Well, the rule of thumb with shrubs is that you can remove 1/3 of the stems in any year...
You'd probably be safe cutting back whole shoots (including some of the green tomatoes). Cut from the north and east side of the plants, to avoid suddenly exposing green fruit to the sun during the hottest part of the day. Maybe put up some temporary fencing to hold back the plants on the south and west sides, or limit yourself to tipping the plants back on these sides.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

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Just make sure to use something clean, you don't want to infect all the plants with pahtogens.
Maybe you could wipe off a knife (I like to use on of those razors with the retractable blade), I like to use some rubbing alcohol to kill a bunch of the bacteria and fungi on it.
Probably just being paranoid, but a freind of mine wiped out his entire orchid collection because he pruned his plants by just slicing them with his thumbnail. All infected.
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Tomatoes can withstand massive pruning, but Pat's 1/3 guideline sounds about right.
Regarding infection: I never take any special precautions and have never lost plant to infection. I also smoke and have never had tobacco mosaic problems. That said, precaution is always prudent, but don't lose your mind over it.
You can usually remove sufficient growth by removing suckers, but in extremely vigorous hybrids like Early Girl, for example, you may need to remove an occasional main vine.
It's not critical, just get them breathing again. You obviously want to avoid removing vines to which major groups of fruits are attached, which I've done many times by mistake. DaveH

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