The planting of tomato seedlings has been completed. Over a period of 3 to 5 days, the plants overcome the stress caused by the changing environmental conditions and begin to flourish. The height of the stems increases, and new leaves are produced. For the plants to form a high-quality crop, they must be supplied with all the nutrients (organic and mineral, including essential and micronutrients). When and how to pinch tomato plants? What is it? We will tell you in this article.
WHAT ARE PINCHING TOMATO PLANTS?
Heavy foraging of tomato plants leads to an increase in lateral branching. The green plants thicken the planted tomato plants, which contributes to the appearance of fungus and other diseases. A large number of small fruits are formed. To prevent this from happening, gardeners use a technique called bush formation or step planting.
Pinching tomato plants means removing excess stems at a certain plant age.
This technique helps balance the green mass of the plant in proportion to the amount of crop being produced. Sometimes individual flowers or entire flower clusters are removed to produce large fruit.
The stepchildren are placed in the leaf axils of the main stem. In the natural environment, this is a struggle for survival, but in cultivation, the plant does not always need the stem, and it must be removed.
WHEN AND HOW TO PINCH TOMATO PLANTS?
The step-grinding process begins at planting time and continues throughout most of the growing season. If the plant becomes diseased, the stems are left in the axils of the healthy leaves to harvest the fruit after all.
Tomatoes are classified as determinate – height limited by 12-28inch (30-70cm) – and non-determinate plants, which can form plants up to 60-100inch (1.5-2.5m) in height. Both plants need to be shaped with an apron, but determinate plants are formed with three stems, while indeterminate plants are usually formed with one stem.
SHAPING DETERMINATE SHRUBS
Indeterminate shrubs, once the stems emerge and develop to 2-2.8inch (5-7cm), three stems are usually formed (either one or two can remain). The stems remain in the axils of the first two leaves (the lowest leaves). These will grow as separate plants on the mother plant, forming leaves and fruit. The remaining asexual stems on the central bud and two secondary buds are constantly broken off when they reach 2-4inch (5-10cm) in length.
Be sure to leave a 0.4-0.8inch (1-2 cm) stump when removing. Otherwise, the next stem will emerge from the dormant bud and start growing.
Remember! A decisive shrub completes its growth by forming a flowering stem at the end of the stem. Such a stem will not grow again to form a total fruit. To extend the fruiting period of the shrub, you need to identify the stem that replaces the old stem that has finished growing, let it continue to grow, and remove the rest of the stem.
If the central stem continues to develop and form fruit, then the growing stem should be trimmed back by 1-2inch (2.5-5 cm), limiting its growth in this way, but it should not be removed.
Determinate tomato varieties and hybrids can be left completely unpruned, or only those plants that are strongly thickened can be removed.
Be careful! Asexually propagated stems have an immature leaf bud that is clearly visible on small plants during the first few days of growth. Flowering shoots have no leaves, only bare bristles and flowering fledglings. The flowering shoots are adjacent to each other and can easily be confused by novice gardeners and wash out of the crop.
SHAPING AN AMORPHOUS BUSH
Amorphous tomato bushes are biologically infinitely tall, up to 80inch (2m) or more. They almost always form a single stem to produce large fruit. For this reason, bushes begin to form after planting seedlings or after the final cut of seedless tomato varieties and hybrids for stem appearance. All stems are removed from the leaf axils. Only the central stem will produce a harvest.
If a bush of 2-3 stems is formed, leave 1-2 shoots on each additional stem and remove the remaining stems. The remaining shoots can eventually be pruned.
Pruning is a permanent technique. Removing stems only once is not enough. In addition to step weeding, the condition of the shrub’s leaf mass should be continuously monitored. Old, yellow, and brown leaves should be removed. If the appearance of the leaves changes, in addition to natural aging, protection measures should be initiated to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
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