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Tomato Leaves

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
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by erak on April 08, 2004 01:08 AM
I pinch off all the suckers. Is it also okay to cut off the extra leaves. My plants have the healthiest leaves. I would like to thin them out for more to go to the fruit.
by weezie13 on April 08, 2004 06:36 PM
We've had alot of conversations here about tomatoes...Seems to be the UNIVERSAL plant!!!

If you do a FORUM SEARCH, there should be a bunch of threads that will come up that talk about the suckers, and I know of one in particular, I believe started by BIGBOY from Mn, about pinching them....there's alot of different points of view for tomato planting!!!

Let us know what you come up with..........
And if any of that info helped you, and I'm sure
there'll be a view tomato gardeners thru with some more advise, Phil and Rick are both into tomatoes, so give them a chance to come thru!!!

What kinds do you grow???


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Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

by Rockfish on April 14, 2004 06:35 AM
Why would you wnt to thin it out? I have been growing tomatoes for 20 years. The best thing you can do is leave them alone. Pinching suckers only makes the plant grow taller. Let it bush, with a cage for support of course. If you have done proper soil prep with compost, mulched it correctly with straw and feed it weekly with compost tea, you will get the best results. If the plant is too thin, the toms will recieve too much sunlight and they will get sun scald. When I plant mine, I add an abundance of compost to the planting area. I then pull all the leaves off the stem leaving the last three. Plant it deep. This will cause the plant to send roots deep. Mulch heavy (with straw) once warm weather has arrived. As it grows, arrange it in the cage for support. I rarely sucker at all unless needed. My largest tomatoe was a better boy that reached 10 feet tall. I am fortunate, here in Southern NC, if the weather is right, I've had tomatoes last until Christmas.

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Rockfish, NC Zone 7
by papito on April 14, 2004 03:15 PM
By removing (pinching-off) all suckers you are actually helping the tomato grow into a single stem. Advantages of pinching-off:

1. The leaves are exposed to the sun. The exposure is needed for production of sugar (photosynthesis). The sugar will be diverted to the fruits since there is no competition from other stems.

2. It allows the air to circulate freely and makes the leaves stay drier.

3. The fruits will be larger and there will be steady supply of fruits during the season. For this reason, the single stem tomato plant should be supported by a cage or stake.

There is no need to remove healthy leaves.

Any type of pruning on the tomato plant should be done when the leaves are dry to avoid bacterial or fungal infection.

Suckers that are not pinched eventually develop into other stems; the stems compete for sugar and thus develop plenty of smaller sized fruits.

To avoid top heavy tomato plant, an alternative is to pinch-off suckers at the top half and leaving-in suckers at bottom half. Multiple stems tomato plant will become bushy and should be supported by a cage or stake.

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.
by Jon on April 14, 2004 03:19 PM
Remember the leaves are what is actually "feeding" the plant in many ways. True the roots take up nutrients from the soil as well as moisture - but - - the leaves do most of the processing (at least as I understand it). Also, the leaves are what is taking the CO2 out of the air and returning pure oxygen (or nearly pure) and the CO2 is also very needful to the plant.

Definitely get the rooting in - early on any veg (as on any annual) but then look for how else the plant can process what it is taking in.


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