Trimming non-sucker limb on tomato plant question.


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Hello!

I recently pruned back my tomato plants and a few of them had the "sucker" branches that were actually bigger and better looking than the "true" branches they were growing from so I trimmed the smaller "true" branch and left the bigger, better looking "sucker" branch instead?

Is this ok to do? Thanks in advanced!
 
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That is the only way to do it IMO. Cutting of suckers just reduces production. If water splash on the leaves was the reason for pruning, suckers grow upward and limbs hang downwards. I always remove the lower limbs and leave the suckers for this reason. Pruning like this is required in the southern US because of early blight and other soil borne fungal infections. In the UK pruning both suckers and limbs is required because of the diminished sunlight but even in the northern US folks still to this day continue to prune suckers, the reason why I do not know.
 
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That is the only way to do it IMO. Cutting of suckers just reduces production. If water splash on the leaves was the reason for pruning, suckers grow upward and limbs hang downwards. I always remove the lower limbs and leave the suckers for this reason. Pruning like this is required in the southern US because of early blight and other soil borne fungal infections. In the UK pruning both suckers and limbs is required because of the diminished sunlight but even in the northern US folks still to this day continue to prune suckers, the reason why I do not know.
Great, thanks for the reply Chuck!

I have always heard to prune the suckers, which I get if they are small and not as healthy looking as the "true" branches, but these were looking great so I left them and pruned back the smaller branches as I mentioned. Good info!
 
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Great, thanks for the reply Chuck!

I have always heard to prune the suckers, which I get if they are small and not as healthy looking as the "true" branches, but these were looking great so I left them and pruned back the smaller branches as I mentioned. Good info!
On hybrid tomatoes did you ever wonder why the suckers are small until the first buds on the plant form fully and then they shoot up?
 
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On hybrid tomatoes did you ever wonder why the suckers are small until the first buds on the plant form fully and then they shoot up?

No.. I don't guess I have ever noticed that in the hybrids versus the heirloom ones? I guess they were "engineered" that way?
 
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No.. I don't guess I have ever noticed that in the hybrids versus the heirloom ones? I guess they were "engineered" that way?
Yes, they were engineered that way, but why? Is it because hybrid tomato plants fruit all ripen in a fairly short period of time? Because if only the blooms on the main trunk were available to fruit, one wouldn't have nearly as many tomatoes would one? So why would one even think about pruning suckers?
 
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I try to keep the mainstem and a sucker growing so I have two vines worth of tomatoes growing off the same root. One stem just doesn't produce enough in my experience. Seems like 2 stems produce 3 times the tomatoes. I also dont let my leaves touch the ground. If they do they get pruned back or off.

Sometimes the stem will "V" off and then you question "is that the stem or not?". In that case, it doesn't really matter which you keep as long as you keep 2 stems growing.

I always try to keep a sucker near the top because somethimes the stem will just deadend and that is the end of the vine. If you have a sucker, then it will branch off and continue.

It also seems to me like the higher part/vine of the tomato is what controls what goes on with the branching.
 
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What Chuck forgets is that if you grow heirloom plants, the seeds can either be kept or are quite cheap to buy.
If you single-stem tomatoes, you can grow them much closer together, & you will get, overall, a higher, better quality crop out of the same area.
 
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I grow my heirloom beef toms in tubs on a rain gutter system in the greenhouse. I use two canes wigwam style and train my toms up them going clockwise so I can get 8 or 9 ft plants that are only 5 and a half ft tall. I only keep the main stem and average 11 to 15 lb of toms off each one.
 
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I grow my heirloom beef toms in tubs on a rain gutter system in the greenhouse. I use two canes wigwam style and train my toms up them going clockwise so I can get 8 or 9 ft plants that are only 5 and a half ft tall. I only keep the main stem and average 11 to 15 lb of toms off each one.
Yes, that's correct, I don't for one second dispute that you can get more tomatoes per plant from a multi-stem, no-prune plant. BUT, they're more prone to disease, are lower quality tomatoes & your crop is condensed & later.
As I said, if you grow single stem plants, you can grow them closer together for a harvest that is larger overall, of higher quality, over a longer period, & since heirloom seeds tend to be cheap, & you can save your own for next year, the difference in price is trivial or none.

Remember, I mean a higher crop IN THE SAME AREA.
 
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heirloom seeds tend to be cheap, & you can save your own for next year,
Remember tomato seeds need to ferment in the mush from the tomato to germinate. If you simply wash and dry them they go nowhere, scrape out the inside and leave it to stand for a bit until it starts fizzing, then wash and dry.
 
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All my greenhouse beef toms are grown as a single stem. I have a 10ft long greenhouse and I grow one row of ten toms. As I've stated before I can get 10ft long stems in 5 and a half ft. On average I get 7 trusses per plant.
 
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All my greenhouse beef toms are grown as a single stem. I have a 10ft long greenhouse and I grow one row of ten toms. As I've stated before I can get 10ft long stems in 5 and a half ft. On average I get 7 trusses per plant.
How are you getting 10' of stem in 5.5' of space?
 
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Yes, they were engineered that way, but why? Is it because hybrid tomato plants fruit all ripen in a fairly short period of time? Because if only the blooms on the main trunk were available to fruit, one wouldn't have nearly as many tomatoes would one? So why would one even think about pruning suckers?
They only do that if you don't prune.

If you prune suckers, the plant puts some of the saved energy into earlier production of tomatoes, & some into larger, better quality tomatoes.
If you have three/four/five single-stem tomato plants in the same area as one unpruned plant, you have three/four/five root systems taking up nutrients & water instead of one.
If you have three/four/five single-stem plants in the same area as one unpruned plant, & you notice early signs of disease, you may be lucky & lose only some of your plants, whereas, with one unpruned plant you lose the lot.
Also, in unpruned tomatoes, the inner fruit get much less light, making them much lower quality.
In the US you have much better light than we in the UK, so if your unpruned tomatoes need 3'x3', we, in the UK, who need to leave 18" between plants, can get four in the same space, whilst, in general, you yanks can grow NINE a foot apart.
You will never convince me that you get nine times as many tomatoes from an un-pruned plant.
Furthermore, the extension of the season is backwards, as in starting earlier, so those weeks when you're desperate for a home-grown tomato, having had more than enough of the poor, crisp, tasteless balls of water, that supermarkets call tomatoes, are fewer.

It is, of course, far more work
 
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And of course I plant mine extremely deeply with an average of 18 to 20 inches of stem underground. I grow my heirlooms beef toms 1 ft apart in the greenhouse wrapping around two canes 12 inches apart at the base and tied together at the top. This allows me to get 10ft long stems only 5 and a half high. I remove all side shoots and all leaves under each truss once the fruit is pea sized. I end up with 6 or 7 trusses with a bare stem under them. I feed 1/2 strenth tomato feed with Epsom salt added.
Even my outdoor salad and cherry tomatoes are planted extra deep which gives me a greater rooted stem. As seen in a photo I posted earlier.
 
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There is no purpose to planting deeply if you are supporting the plants & growing them indoors.
The tap root will do what the buried roots can't.
 
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Sorry but I disagree, the additional roots help the plant against any stress that may occur. I have found that I get a better crop with more trusses using this system as I have grown both ways side by side. I don't know why or how but it works, just seen that it does.
If you don't like the way I grow mine then do it your own way .
 
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I have seen the argument before that roots from the stem do nothing to feed the plant but only provide extra support. Apart from the fact that extra support can't really be a bad thing I can't see why we should believe roots don't take up moisture or nourishment. It is a normal function of roots, and I don't see how it would be possible to prove they don't. Planting side by side may give an indication, but without grading the soil for an even distribution of nutrient and moisture to a considerable depth and repeating it a large number of times it is not conclusive. My plants all planted the same way in the same border, with the same imported earth, often grow very differently.
Meanwhile there is enough of a chance it is going to help I shall be trying a couple of beefsteaks with Tincasteve's method next year. I have some seeds my missus brought back from holiday that should be just the thing.
 
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I have seen the argument before that roots from the stem do nothing to feed the plant but only provide extra support. Apart from the fact that extra support can't really be a bad thing I can't see why we should believe roots don't take up moisture or nourishment. It is a normal function of roots, and I don't see how it would be possible to prove they don't. Planting side by side may give an indication, but without grading the soil for an even distribution of nutrient and moisture to a considerable depth and repeating it a large number of times it is not conclusive. My plants all planted the same way in the same border, with the same imported earth, often grow very differently.
Meanwhile there is enough of a chance it is going to help I shall be trying a couple of beefsteaks with Tincasteve's method next year. I have some seeds my missus brought back from holiday that should be just the thing.
If they are quite happy at that depth, why do they:
1) Not naturally grow those roots at that depth?
2) Grow other roots on the surface?
3) Grow nothing between the old & new roots if you plant them deep enough?
4) Have a tap root, able to do anything those deep roots can do?
 

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