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Tomato plant branch removal

rosehenderson90rosehenderson90 Scotland Posts: 73
Hi folks, 

One of my allotment neighbours has removed a load of the branches from my tomato plants, so there are only one or two left on each.

I knew to remove the side shoots, but wasn't sure about the branches so keen to learn more about this practice if anyone has info?

I've not seen them yet so not been able to ask!

Want to understand if it's something i want done or not - I've not seen stems so bare before but i am new to growing tomatoes. 

Some photos:



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    Why has he been touching your plants though?
    I certainly remove foliage as the plants grow - mainly old, damaged ones, and anything that's causing some overcrowding, but only once they're no longer needed as the trusses are all well formed, and not to the extent your photo shows.
    It doesn't look as if you have many trusses of fruit set yet. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 20,611
    No, it seems not something you should do!  Plants need their leaves,  I only remove the leaves from the bottom up to the first truss.   When the tomatoes are all formed you can remove a few more leaves for air space and sun to ripen. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • rosehenderson90rosehenderson90 Scotland Posts: 73
    Thanks @Lyn and @Fairygirl

    It's a community shared space and I think they might be trying to be helpful as a number of plants in the greenhouse have had the same treatment.

    Though I thought perhaps not best practice as they now have so few branches on them I worried that would reduce the amount of tomatoes I'll get.  It sounds like from what you're saying thats right!

    Though perhaps in the past week things became diseased and they removed things. I'm not sure yet.

    Hopefully doesn't have too much impact.

    Thanks for your advice!! 😊 
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,914
    Yes,agree with fairy,I only remove stems and leaves late in the season to make sure that the last tomatoes ripen
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,102
    Leaves are the engines of a plant and produce all of its energy.
    Fewer leaves = less energy to grow tomatoes, so fewer and smaller tomatoes I'm afraid.
    I don't remove any leaves until late in the season when all the fruits have formed and the leaves are no longer as important
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • rosehenderson90rosehenderson90 Scotland Posts: 73
    Thanks @Nanny Beach and @Pete.8 - that's good to know.

    One of my plants escaped the Great Branch Cull of 2021 so I think I'll be riding all my tomato dreams on that one this year!! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    I think you need to have a word with the 'scissor happy' offender @rosehenderson90 ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • rosehenderson90rosehenderson90 Scotland Posts: 73
    Yes @Fairygirl, and failing that I may have to hide all the scissors :D

    It must be an urban myth in our community garden as quite a few people's tomatoes have had the snip.

    Now I know better ;) 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    Or maybe he's just a control freak  :)
    The problem is that he's compromising the growth, and the end result. 
    It can be quite expensive growing tomatoes - time, money and maintenance, so the last thing you want is half the crop you should achieve. Would be easier just buying them!
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,567
    edited July 2021
    Sometimes folk see these things being done and the reasons are only half understood, and then they lead to stuff being done at the wrong time or for the wrong reason ... but they carry on doing it 'because Old Joe always did it' ...  :/

    I'd stick up a notice ... "I'm carrying out a comparative trial ... please do not touch my tomato plants :D"
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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