Trim tomatoe bottom leaves ?

dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)April 11, 2012

I hope to post a pic here of the bottom branches of my tomatoe plants. These leaves are litterally laying on the ground and I wondered if these should be trimmed off? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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kathywide(7b)

Wow, gorgeous plant. Congratulations! The danger with branches trailing on the ground is that they are more susceptible to diseases. Read about how to handle that kind of pruning on the link below. Good luck! You've got an awesome start.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning tomatoes

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 5:44PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thank you kathywide. Great link. I think I will trim the lower branches at appears they will stay on the ground and make diseases easier to get on. Thanks again.
Keith

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 5:59PM
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sweetquietplace(6 WNC Mtn.)

I trim my bottom leaves by cutting 2-3 inches out from the main stem and pinching the cut end with pliers (my fingers are arthritic). This seals the ends so it's not so easy for pathogens to get into the stem. The leaf stems dry up and fall off in a couple of weeks leaving a healthy, sealed scar. You have beautiful plants!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 6:11PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thanks sweetquietplace. One of the branches is above the flowers. Should I stay away from trimming that one? Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:35PM
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Kevinitis(5)

From what I have read on the peer reviewed scientific liturature, pruning the lower leaves sometimes increases yeild, some times increases fruit quality but not yeild, and other times has no measurable effect.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 11:01PM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Thanks Kevinitis. I am going to trim the branches tomorrow and was wandering about the one that is above the flowers. Appreciate you responding.
Keith

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 11:26PM
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sweetquietplace(6 WNC Mtn.)

Looks like you have more than enough leaves to serve the plant. I would cut-and-pinch the leaf.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 8:04AM
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barrie2m_

Normally I'd be the first to lop the lower ground touching branches. However, when I see the picture of that healthy plant and think of the contribution potential of those lower leaves to the "Overall Plant Factory" my inclination is to allow them to remain, at least for the time being.

If you can keep them dry and free of soil "Splash" during watering, etc. they will likely contribute to the immediate needs of the plant.

There are other things that just bother me about the image: the low level lateral branch which is destined to produce both branches and fruit that will lay on the ground and all those maple flyers that will undoubtedly be producing a tree crop in al the wrong places. Once those flyers take root the resulting trees will be harder to control.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 10:03AM
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norval

Dirtguy50:

A picture is worth a thousand words.
Your plant seems to be in a shaded area which is causing it to grow large lateral stems and leaves. It needs this large leaf area to gather enough energy to produce fruit. My tactic would be to tie-up or prop-up the branches if the shade is as serious as the picture presents. If the plant is in full sun I would probably prune.

Good Growing

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 10:48AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

bmoser, the flyers are a super major problem here. I remove them before they root. Sometime the leaf blower will get the majority. I pick them daily from my container plants. About the lower leaves: I have cardboard under them to minimize any soil splashing up on them, hoping that will help. Not sure what to do at this point. Thanks for the information, I do appreciate it. Here is a view showing the overall plant which is about 14"-16" tall. Maybe this might help.

Keith

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:15AM
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tracydr(9b)

Since you have cardboard between the leaves and the ground, I would leave it. Especially since they are already so big.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:36AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

I really appreciate you all responding with such good information. The amount of shade my whole yard is an issue here. This area does get about 4-5 hours of direct sun in the mornings and indirect all afternoon.
Thanks again,

Keith

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:59AM
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