Tomato plants in greenhouse

Have loads of fruit on my tomato plants in greenhouse.  Some of the fruit is being shaded by all the leaves.  Is it ok to cut the leaves off to allow light to get through.  This is my first year with green house and growing tomatoes so bit of a novice at the mo but am really pleased with the amount of tomotoes on the plants, can't wait for them to ripen




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,754

    Tomatoes don't need light to ripen, it's the warmth they need, so you don't take leaves off for that reason - but  I remove the lower ones so that they don't pick up viral infections from water splashing on the soil, and then when the first truss has set I remove all the leaves below that.  Some people remove more.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Some people remove less!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,754


    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Ah, Laurel & Hardy come to the forum! image

    LL, Dove's right about the temperature ripening the toms, but it's a good idea, too, to thin out some of the foliage if it's forming thick clumps. Air circulation is a good aid against fungal problems and clumps of leaves stifle air circulation.

  • SwissSueSwissSue Posts: 1,447

    I cut off about 6" of some of the longer leaves which are over 12" in length.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    I agree with Italophile - good air circulation is essential to reduce the chance of fungal problems.  Exactly how you do this is up to you, just as long as you do do it! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    You usually end up with impenetrable clumps of foliage when you get branches crossing over each other and lying on each other. It's easiest just to cut off any branches that are crossing. The plants needs foliage for photosynthesis but will cope perfectly well with a lot less foliage than they produce.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    I've taken a lot of foliage off mine and I've always done that. One in particular, which has lots of ripening fruits, has got very little now. I have another plant in the little growhouse with it so it makes sense to enable good air flow. I've had no fungal probs at all. As Italophile (the expert!) says it makes sense to remove stuff that's crossing etc.

  • bigolobbigolob Posts: 127

    The latest research from the US re Toms is that all but for 3-4 leaf stems should be left in tact or you are growing and feeding leaves instead of the fruit. I grow mid sized Toms mainly with a couple of cherry varieties and I have done this for years with no hardship to the plants.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    bigolob, there is always new research popping up on these sorts of things.

    The science is that the plant needs foliage for photosynthesis in order to develop, but the foliage also serves another purpose, particularly in hot, sunny climates. It protects the fruit from exposure to hot, direct sun that can result in sunburn (sun scald), nasty leathery patches on the fruit.

    If your climate isn't likely to bring about sunburn, trim away. Here, where the plants are currently baking in close to 40C all day, I actually tuck exposed fruit behind foliage.

    What's more, as I posted somewhere here t'other day, the closer the fruit gets to maturity, the less it draws from the plant. By the time it's changing colour, the fruit is drawing next to nothing from the plant.

  • bigolobbigolob Posts: 127

    My reply was intended for people growing tomatoes in the UK not southern Europe and I maintain from my 50 years experience of Tomato growing that what I wrote is correct.

    I have never seen sunburned Toms in all those years even when occasionally we get a warm summer at this year.

  • Have to say i surprised by how poor many of monties tomatoes looked on GW on friday. Looks like it was either filmed a long time ago, or the experiment has produced very poor plants. I've had fruit ripening on mine for about 6 weeks now, many of monties in the little pots didn't even seem to have flowered yet. Will be interesting to see if he manages to get anything off them, I know the experiment was about flavour but if he gets 1 trus of amazing flavour tomatoes per plant, it wouldn't be much good for most of us who don't have room for dozens of plants. 

    I've had a few black cherries off mine so far, they were the first to set, and stronger growing it seems than the gardeners delight or tigarella. Have to say they tasted fantastic.

  • ginagibbsginagibbs Posts: 756

    Ate my first ripe one today Yayy!! still waiting for the rest to ripen.image

    I take off the bottom leaves up to the lowest truss of fruit, seems to work and I like the idea that their is air circulation.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Andy I tend to agree with you  - they didn't look too great did they? I felt quite pleased with mine after seeing that! That sounds like a good variety you've got Andy. Would you recommend it? The cherry and small plum types are what I like.  Did you grow from seed?

    As Italo said re the sun, I was quite concerned about some of my toms in that really hot spell as the temperature in the growhouse was so high and my back garden is a real sun trap.  Because I'm out all morning it's not always been easy to judge just how 'open' to leave the doors.Was regretting taking quite so much foliage off the biggest plant! It has survived though - just one or two fruits looked a bit the worse for wear.

  • rosie28rosie28 Posts: 16

    The many leaves on my tomato plants was the problem I just posted - then I read the above!   You had already answered my question.   Thanks, everyone.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Up here the problem is temperature as we go through August. It gets quite autumnal here -you can feel the change in the air in early August - and temps overnight can fall below 10/12 degrees quite quickly, so any toms not already ripening need the cover of a greenhouse or it would be chutney making time instead of eating nice red tomatoes!

  • Peter12Peter12 Posts: 22

    Look at this lot, kilos but not a ripe one yet. These are cristal that I grew from seed as recommended on Gardeners world last year. cant wait to taste them.

    I regularly remove all tangled and long branching foliage as well as all foliage below the first truss has worked for me In the past.


     regards Peter.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Peter those look terrific...and so beautifully neat. There are some very tidy male gardeners on this forum!!

    I didn't mean that in the modern sense that 'tidy' means....image

    Although maybe that's the case too!

  • Correct bigolob and Peter12.

    My tomatoes are the best ever (3 years of trying) and I was away at the start of the heatwave worrying if they would all be dead when I got back.  But NO! - even the ones outside the small growhouse have survived and flourished.  I took off all unnecessary foliage so the goodness went straight to the flowers-cum-fruits and pinched out the tops.  I did practically drown them before I went away though.......


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