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Many garden websites recommended that you remove 50% of the tomato plant (Cordon Variety) leaves in order to increase the yield.

It's my first time growing tomatoes, and I am growing Sweet Million, Sungold and Sweet Aperitif cherry tomatoes.

The question is, if I remove 50% of the leaves of my plant, will I have new fruit trusses? Or do I do it in the last crop of the season?

  • 1
    Do you have a link that says that indeterminate varieties should have 50% of their foliage removed? – Graham Chiu Feb 28 '16 at 9:46
  • @GrahamChiu Here's a link post from Thompson & Morgan FB page facebook.com/thompsonmorgan/photos/… – user2120121 Feb 28 '16 at 9:58
  • I'll prune out suckers (additional stems) on indeterminates if they're trailing along the ground and unlikely to yield much. Pulling off half the leaves at random sounds to me to be a bad idea. – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 28 '16 at 17:05
  • Close, but not an exact duplicate, I guess. My point there stands, though. gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/20489/… – Ecnerwal Feb 29 '16 at 16:22
  • Removing leaves will decrease water consumption and allow the plant to get less light (although it may increase the risk of sunscald on fruits). – Shule Jul 20 '17 at 4:06
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The professional association in my place also recommend to prune leaves, but not so much, and not in a single pass. Their reasoning:

  • bottom leaves are at risk to bring of fungal diseases (with irrigation).

  • the bottom fruits (nearly ready to be gathered) will color more irregularly (shadows with many leaves), so clients will judge them as less quality.

Possibly it depends on location and variety, but I would try this year with one or two plants to prune much more leaves.

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Tomatoes are, in South America, a perennial tender fruiting vine which are grown as annuals in regions where there is frost. As a result of being grown in its non-native climate, accommodations have to be made to optimize yield before the first frost appears. So, pruning is both climate, and variety specific. Opinions are varied as well as to whether you should or not prune the suckers (side shoots), but the varying success people get with the same pruning, or lack of pruning, may reflect other management such as heavy mulching and preventative spraying for fungal diseases.

For indeterminate varieties, which only stop growing once the frost arrives, it is recommended by some that you prune the suckers up to the second set of flowers. However, if they have become too large, then to leave them alone as you risk causing damage to the stems by removal. There is another method of pruning which just removes the growing tip of the sucker. You should also prune back to allow good airflow through your plant to reduce the chance of moisture settling on the leaves and stems which would allow fungal diseases to get a hold. But you need to leave some leaves to cover the fruit to prevent it from sunburn. If you remove too many leaves you remove the part of the plant that creates the sugars that are needed for the fruits and growth.

When you have flowers still forming towards the end of the season, and you can calculate that the fruits will never reach an adequate size or mature in time, you can remove those as well. Removal of flowers will mean that the sugars and growth will be concentrated in the remaining fruit.

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