Does Cutting Off New Flowers Really Hasten Ripening?

lois(PA Zone 6)August 28, 2011

I know it's a little early in my zone to be thinking about frost, but I am wondering if trimming off any new flowers and flower buds really does make the remaining fruits ripen faster.

I've read the posts about just letting the green tomatoes ripen on the counter, but that didn't seem to work for me last year. I tried to let a completely green tomato ripen on the counter and it looked wonderful, but tasted bland.

So I am willing to sacrifice any new tomatoes if it would allow the older tomatoes to at least get to blush stage before I have to harvest.

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I have heard heavy pruning or even taking a knife or shovel and cutting in a half circle by the base of the plant and destroying some of the roots will cause them to ripen sooner.

Supposedly puts the plant into a survival move and the plant will focus its energy on ripening the remaining fruit before dying. Not really sure if this is a proven method or not.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 3:48PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Removing flowers, no. Trimming off new growth, maybe. Some advocate topping the plants at season's end to force ripen the remaining fruit. I've never tried it personally since my season is so long here.

Same goes for spade pruning roots on one side of the plant - some swear by it. Logically it has the best chance of working.

What works best for me if needed is just to pull up the whole plant and hang it upside down in the basement, barn or greenhouse where it won't freeze. The fruit ripen nicely.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 4:54PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

If shovel pruning you do it all the way around the main stem, about one foot out from the main stem, not just halfway around the plant.

What it does is to cut the top feeder roots, the other roots are depper so you aren't killing the plant.

And yes, for many is does work.

The temps for September here where I live in NYS are supposed to be much warmer and drier than normal, so I'm not doing anything to my plants well, not much to do after the devastation due to Irene today.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 8:41PM
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