Pruning lower tomato leaves


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Hey All,

A few years ago, one of the members of my community garden talked me into pruning lower leaves on my indeterminate tomatoes to increase fruit yields. What I cannot remember is this.

I know you should prune the lower leaves so none are touching the ground or are yellowing or diseased. That is a no brainer. What I can't remember is how high to keep pruning as the plants keep getting larger, creating more foliage at the top. Do you go up to the lowest cluster of fruit still ripening? Or do you stay a few branches below?

Does anyone use this method and can assist? Thanks!
 
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People seem to vary, Mostly it seems to be up to the the first cluster that is set, but I have seen plants completely bare of leaves, and plants with some larger leaves removed higher up to allow sunlight through to the fruit and some left. TBH I am experimenting a bit this year myself, so I am interested to see what other people say.
 
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I suppose it really depends on where you grow. If they were in pots in potting mix, I probably wouldn't worry so much about the bottom leaves touching or possibly a more sandy soil than what we have. Here we have red clay. It holds moisture, nutrients, and I guess fungi better. If it looks like it is going to touch the ground, I prune mine. Sometimes I remove the whole node and sometimes I cut the tip off the stem. I just don't like my stuff touching the ground. I have several diseases in my garden that I have to try to manage. Things just seem to do better when I keep it off the soil and that allows for a more aeration and sunlight to keep the soil dryer.

Other than keeping my tomatoes and peppers off the ground. I grow my watermelons on rocks with the exception of the main root. I put styrofoam plates under my squash fruits to at least keep them off the ground.

It has been a very humid year here and it started earlier this year for some reason. Nothing seems to really dry out in high humidity. Grass cutting and timing is something else of a science so it doesn't look like crap.
 
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