How to Prune Tomato Plants for More Fruit & Less Leaves. Plus How to Trellis Tomatoes.

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Next Level Gardening

This gardening video will show you how to prune tomato plants the proper way to get more fruit and less leaves. Pruning tomato plants is important if you want the plant to focus on fruit instead of making a huge green plant. You will also learn the best way to make a tomato trellis for your tomatoes to grow on no matter what climate you have. MENTIONED TRELLIS VIDEO https://youtu.be/YNe6x93sVVQ PRODUCT LINKS Tomato Hooks... www.nextlevelgardening.tv/shop PLANT CLIPS: https://amzn.to/2ImD0HE

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Video Transcript:

[Music] hey guys no fancy intros today we are just going to get right into the main point of this video because literally these tomatoes can't take it another minute and today's subject is going to be pruning and trellising your tomatoes now this video is for indeterminate Tomatoes not determinate tomatoes if you look on the label of your plant it should say or the seed packet if it doesn't there's not a way that i know of that's that's full proof to know whether it's an indeterminate or determinant type without it saying it so you can google the name of the variety if you have that but not whether it's an indeterminate and it Will tell you okay so indeterminates are tomato type varieties that grow and grow and grow and really don't have a stopping point they will grow until the cold weather kills them so if you have a long growing season you're going to get a lot more out of your tomatoes determinate type which are like a roma tomato they grow about three to four feet and Are genetically designed to stop and at that point they're going to produce their fruit and it's going to be pretty much all at one time and then they're done whereas indeterminate will keep producing as long as they're alive now a determinant plant you are not going to prune very much if at all so this is like i said for indeterminate so what we want to do i'm going to be very hands on Here you do not want to wait until they get this big but as you know i've had some health issues the last week or two and so things get put on hold life happens so first of all why prune anyway well there's a couple of reasons number one it allows you to grow more types of plants or not types of varieties of tomato in a Smaller space because you can space them a lot closer together the big reason though uh is for airflow especially if you live where you have wet summers there's a much bigger chance for your tomatoes to become diseased and so if you can increase the air flow through the plant you're going to cut down that risk and so we take out the side shoots which i'm going to get into in a minute The third reason would be have you ever had a big tomato plant that's huge lots of healthy green leaves or not healthy but lots of leaves and not a lot of tomatoes that's because the tomato sends off side shoots that will produce tomatoes but not a lot most of the main tomatoes that are the nice big ones that you want are going to be produced Along the main stem that runs from the ground to the tip of the plant and so for all of these reasons we want to take out the side shoots now the side shoots are you're going to find those as at what i call the armpit of the tomato and it is where the main stem meets the leaf right there in this armpit you're gonna see a new growth that you want to pinch off it's pretty big now here's What you can do with these you can put these in a jar of water and they will grow roots and you can plant them somewhere else i don't have a lot of room for that so these are just going to go into the compost so we've taken this one off now here's the next armpit there's a big sucker coming out here we're going to pull that off and actually if we move around this side you're going to see an even bigger one From this first joint down here that grows up so we're going to take that one off as well now look i know it looks like we're harming the plant we really are not so moving back up the stem you might just see little starts like this you just want to take those out here's another one right here this one's a little bigger take that out and that's it for now And you're going to want to do that everywhere you see a side shoot all the way up the plant for the entire growing season now this is not to be confused with the truss of flowers that will hopefully eventually produce the tomatoes the truss of flowers is not going to be coming from an armpit it is going to be right off of the main stem now you can take off the first truss of Flowers and if these were smaller i probably would have done that just to focus more energy on the growth at the beginning take off the first truss but because these are a little further ahead and literally these are already completely open blooms i'm gonna leave them now a couple of problems you might run into while you're doing your pruning would be if you waited too long like i did you might have a situation at the top of The plant where it forks and you're not really easily able to tell which is the side shoot and which is the main branch that's continuing they're going to look almost identical what you're going to look for is that armpit and it's going to be more open because of the way that the growth has has happened but the one that's coming off and usually it's the one Of the two in the fork that don't have the flowers at the top that's the one you're going to take off worst case scenario you leave them both on and trellis both of them and that would be okay just continue to take the side shoots off of each of those now if you get a little crazy or have a a mistake and you accidentally break off the growing tip of the plant Not all is lost it might not produce as much as it would have but what you can do is wait for a side shoot to grow out maybe the armpit below that or the one below that and just train that one up as if it were the main stem now at this point um we're going to come through here and we're going to take off some of the lower leaves especially the ones touching the ground and they might still be green Right now but what's gonna happen is you have a much bigger chance of the pathogens getting on those lower leaves and spreading that infection to the rest of the plants so i'm gonna take off the bottom six to eight inches of leaves on these plants any of them that are touching the ground they need to be removed now throughout the season you're going to continue to remove the bottom leaves Whenever you see any type of yellowing sickness just take the leaves off and head things off at the past it is not uncommon for by the middle of june for the bottom two feet of my plants to have no leaves to be standing there naked sometimes some fruit hanging there by itself so once that pruning is done you can see how we've just really opened up the airflow through Here you can also see on the other side that the basil now has a little more breathing room to get get big and not be shaded out by all these unnecessary leaves now these plants are very sturdy and upright right now but it won't take long maybe another foot or so where they're going to get top heavy and they're going to fall over onto the ground We want to prevent that from happening for disease reasons and just aesthetically it's it looks nicer so we are going to trellis these now if you're if you're growing determinate plants also like aroma um again no pruning and you can use just a standard one of the larger ones preferably tomato cages that you can get from the garden center for these we're going to do something a little differently And i went over this on a video what was it a month or two ago and we talked about these hooks we're still going to do that but if you watch my last video you'll see the hold up on these hooks but we're not going to worry about that we're still going to do it the same way that i would always do it and i'm just going to give you a little work around to give us a little more time to get these hooks in stock Now if you didn't build a trellis like i have here and i know a lot of you have you've sent me pictures and i love seeing all that but if you haven't i'm going to link the video to show you how to do that up at the top and down in the description of the video i'll have it as an end card at the end of the video as well or an end screen link um so i'm not going to get into That on this video so what we're going to need for this is either landscape staples or some heavy semi-heavy gauge wire that's bent in half and you're going to need some string not kite string and the brown twine that looks all natural that doesn't work well either before the end of the season it gets rotted in snaps with weight of these so you want some good heavy duty String i don't know what the weight is it's a nice good cotton twine and we are going to put that landscape staple at the bottom of the tomato plant and tie the string one end of the string on there we're gonna loop it one or two times around that main stem and then we're gonna take it all the way up to The support above now here's where we diverge into two different ways of doing this if you live in a growing season that ends so let's say your frost comes at the end of august maybe september early october then you have a shorter growing season early october you might be okay but if you have a short growing season you can take the top of this string tie it right up there on either the wood Or if you put a hook there and that's it if you have a longer growing season like i do and you don't get frost ever or maybe end of october november december then that's a long growing season and you can get a lot more tomatoes out of your plants but what we're going to do with these hooks but like i said a lot of you aren't able To get the hooks right now and i'm not using them until you can so what we're going to do is choose anything that you can find around your house that is round i'm using a washer you can use a washer nuts you can use um zip ties that are zipped into a circle anything that is a circle and we're going to take the string and we're going to tie it on there If you're even like a boy scout or know how to do fancy knots you can make like a loop knot but basically all we want is the string tied to that circle then we're going to take this circle and we're going to put it up on the hook that we have up above now i've only got the umbrella up here for filming purposes this tomatoes do need good sun so i'm going to put the washer over that Hook so when you're finished you've got the landscape staple the string looped around a couple of times and then all the way up and either tied on if you have a short growing season or in some kind of a loop if you have a long growing season now when the hooks actually arrive all we're going to do is we're going to hang this hook on the hook over next to it we're going to remove the loop that We've got at this point our plants will probably be a little taller than they are now and then what we're going to do is tie this new string from the hook onto the washer or whatever circle you have so it's going to look like that in the middle at that point we can continue on using the hook just like we would so as the Tomato gets to the top of the trellis you're going to unhook it turn it over maybe once maybe twice probably and you're going to hook it on the hook next to it and what that's going to do is that's going to lower the plant down each time because what happens is when the plant would reach the top of the trellis what do you do it flops over breaks off It becomes unhealthy you can't really take care of it anymore and so every couple of weeks we're going to be moving this hook over i'm hoping this makes sense moving the hook over and lowering it down a little bit so by the end of whatever length of growing season you have You're going to have a bare stem going around and around i don't know how many times we can make it around maybe just once and the top of the plant will still be producing tomatoes but you're never gonna have to worry about it hitting the top breaking off and getting unruly it's just gonna keep growing around and pretty much the top staying at the same level because you're lowering it every Time you move it i hope that makes sense if it doesn't make sense i did do another video the same one i'm talking about before and maybe i was able to explain it well but i think this is i think this is pretty good right now as the tomato plant continues to grow up the string no matter how you've got it hooked at the top It's going to grow bigger and there's two ways where you can that you can fasten this tomato plant to the string one way is just to simply twist your plant as it grows around the string just train it around the string you want to do this in the middle of the day when the plant is a little less crisp so if it doesn't snap as easy another way to do this is with some hooks or clips and what these clips do Is they uh fasten to the string with some teeth and as you close it over the stem it'll allow the stem to still have room to move and grow but it will keep it fastened to the string [Music] so that's it basically we're anchoring it to the bottom growing it up a string short growing season It at the top once the plant gets to the top you want to top the plant to make sure that all the tomatoes that have grown below have time to ripen before the frost comes if a longer growing season we're going to add the additional loop and then eventually the hook and i'll do another video once we have the hooks in so you guys we can really kind of go step by step through that um But that's going to be more of a hands-on thing where you're going to want to have your hooks there and then we can go through it together so as soon as those hooks are out i will let you know with a link um and then i'll do another video of really attaching those hooks and kind of continuing on with the process so we can all have a really long really productive tomato season again thanks everyone for hanging in there With me and i will see you on [Music] sunday [Music] you

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