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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1494
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:40 pm
Location: Wyoming

I have to prune my tomatoes. The wind in Wyoming can get quite high; I heard once this summer that we made hurricane strength, but I don't know how high that is. It can also occur in sudden, violent bursts. One perfectly calm day I was out minding my own business when a gust of wind exploded and dissipated, all within the space of seconds. Thwack! I was almost felled by a three-foot long healthy branch of the neighbor's tree hitting the back of my head. Even though it hurt, it made me laugh. I whirled around to face my attacker, and there was a branch lying at my feet :lol:

That said, any Wyoming plant over a foot tall needs to be supported in some way. I use tomato cages for my tomatoes. I space my tomatoes 30" to 36" apart. As they mature and put out new branches, I feed the new branches up into the cages. Eventually, the center growth becomes impacted, and the inner growth suffers from lack of air and sunlight.

So, I prune. Like Cynthia_H advised, I never take more than a third of a plant at a time, but I will tell you that my previously lush tomatoes resemble plucked chickens when I am done. Yes, they also concentrate on production. However, my reason for pruning is not so much to enhance production but to provide support for new branches while making certain the inner plant's vital machinery stays well oiled :)

One note: If you over-prune, as I do on occasion, you will stress your plant. Earlier this summer, I pruned one of my guys to the nth of his life. The next morning, he had blossom drop. I've left him alone since, and he has yet to regain his full glory. The other four, however, have been pruned at least twice, and two are ready to be pruned again.

Confessions: I might like doing it too much.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Hurricane strength winds are > 76 mph.

Lower than that, they're a "tropical storm" or, even lower, a "tropical depression."

We had 60- to 65-mph winds in early April; I had to deliver papers to a bank and was stunned that a very large (approx. 12" diameter) branch had been blown off of a tree in the bank's parking lot. Fortunately, the two women and their dogs who had arrived at the bank in the smashed-up car were uninjured. Unfortunately, the car was completely undriveable.

Hurricane-strength winds would definitely strip leaves and fruit off of many plants, shrubs, and/or trees.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Green Thumb
Posts: 317
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:29 am
Location: Nagoya: Japan

The Helpful Gardener wrote:I too am trialing mostly leafless tomatoes and springbok is correct; more light and air circulation IS a good thing so far. No detrimentals I can see to this point; more to follow...

None for me either.

5 July 2009

Over 60 fruit from this one plant :D

Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:52 am
Location: Florida

Removing leaves from tomato plants

I read that some think photosynthesis happens in the leaves. That is true, but it is not the only place photosunthesis happens. Photosynthesis actually happens in the chloroplasts. Chloroplasts have chlorophyll which makes the plant green. Tomato stems are green. Photosynthesis also happens in the stems.

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