When and how to pinch tomatoes
Everyone can grow tomatoes and get a rich harvest on their site. Agricultural farming requires constant care, which boils down not only to timely watering, top dressing, but also to pinching. Novice gardeners neglect this operation simply because they do not understand why it is needed and how to carry it out.
What is pinching
Step-dressing in the field of vegetable growing is called an agrotechnical technique, which is aimed at increasing the yield of tomatoes or other crops. The procedure contributes to the optimal development of the bushes as a result of its proper formation. The event involves the removal of superfluous, but consuming nutrients, twigs. Tomatoes are one of the garden crops, which is characterized by the active branching of bushes.
As plants develop from the leaf sinuses, lateral processes called stepsons begin to form. They are considered useless because they take away nutrition from the fruit. Carrying out the procedure of pinching, you can not only correctly form the plants, but also increase productivity, since only fruiting branches remain on the bush. If you do not subject the bushes to pruning, a lot of green mass grows to the detriment of the crop. Since the stepsoning procedure can have different schemes, this technique should be considered in more detail.
Removing stepchildren increases crop yields
When the tomatoes step in
Since the first stepchildren can be seen even in seedlings, they should be removed immediately after planting the plants in the ground. The lateral processes during this period are quite short and thin, and the plants will painlessly endure their removal. The procedure of pinching is quite time-consuming, especially if a large number of tomatoes are grown. Cutting off unnecessary shoots is recommended in the morning, because before lunch the branches break off more easily, and the wound heals faster. It is best to carry out the operation from 9 to 11 hours, after which you need to slightly moisten the soil.
When removing stepsons during flowering, it is recommended to shake the bushes first, which will contribute to better pollination of neighboring plants.
The tomato must be inspected every week and the shoots removed until they grow too large. When plucking large branches, this will be stressful for the plant, which will negatively affect crop yields and may lead to weakening. In tomatoes grown in a greenhouse, stepsons are removed every 6–8 days, in unprotected soil - after 10–12 days. It is important not to allow the shoot length to be more than 5 cm. If you want to get large-sized fruits and a decent harvest, the procedure will have to be carried out throughout the summer period. Unnecessary shoots grow most of all after the formation of the first inflorescences, which requires a close examination of the plants.
How to distinguish a stepson from a fruit brush
When cropping, you need to know exactly what to delete. Otherwise, you can simply cut off the flower brush, as a result of which the yield of the bush will decrease. To avoid errors, carefully examine the clipped escape. The main differences of the stepson are:
- even on a small lateral process there are leaves, while on the hand the rudiments of flowers are observed;
- the flower brush does not develop from the sinus of the leaf, but begins to grow from the stem.
If there are difficulties in determining the lateral shoot, it is simply left alone for a day, after which the difference between the stepson and the brush will be noticeable quite well.
Stepson on a tomato: 1 - the main stem of the plant; 2 - sheet; 3 - stepson (side shoot); 4 - flower brush
How to pinch tomatoes
Having determined the need and timing of the operation, you need to prepare a tool, which can be used as a pruner or scissors. The processes can be broken off with your fingers, but in this case you will need rubber gloves. If a tool is used, care should be taken to sharpen it, which will avoid serious damage to plants. In addition, the tool must be disinfected after each bush, since bacteria can easily enter the open wound. As a disinfecting solution, potassium permanganate is used (1-2%).
The stepsoning procedure is performed as follows:
- The appendix is gently squeezed between the index and thumb.
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- Gently swing the shoot to the sides until it breaks off. If tools are used, the sprout is separated from the bush by a quick and sharp movement. The cut should be smooth and accurate. If the edges are torn, wound healing will be long. In addition, the risk of contracting an infection will increase.
- On one bush at a time no more than three stepsons are removed, otherwise the culture will wither and weaken. With a large number of processes, the event is carried out during the week, while starting with large processes, gradually removing small ones as well.
Stepsons should be removed gradually, starting with large and ending with small
- Broken branches are put in a bucket and removed from the site further away, since stepsons in the immediate vicinity of the bushes can provoke rotting, as a result of which diseases can appear.
The process is separated from the mother bush so that a small stump 0.5 cm high remains, which excludes the appearance of a new stepson in the same place.
Video: pinching and tomato formation
You can remove excess shoots on tomatoes in several ways. Their choice depends on the number of branches that are planned to be left on the bush. The procedure can be carried out according to one of the following schemes:
- In one stalk. This method involves the removal of all processes, while only one stem remains to form the fruits. In this case, the bush develops rather quickly, and the fruits grow large. The disadvantages include the need to use a support to which the plant is tied. If you neglect tying, the main shoot will simply break under the weight of the fruit.
- In two stems. With this formation, in addition to the main stem, another process is left. All other branches are subject to removal. As the side shoot, choose the strongest and located under the first fruit brush.
- In 3 stems. A central shoot and two stepson are left on the bush. With this method, a sprout is chosen near the lower inflorescence and another strong branch is found nearby, and all the others are cut.
There are several ways to plant tomatoes
The formation of tomatoes depending on the type
For completeness of the disclosure of the topic of pinching of the culture in question, it is worth noting that the tomato is divided into several groups, for each of which has its own scheme for removal of processes:
- determinant varieties;
- indeterminate varieties;
- semi-determinant varieties.
This type includes tomatoes with unlimited growth. They are usually formed into a single stem. This is explained by the fact that such plants form a large number of lateral processes. When trimming a stepson, it is necessary to leave a stump, and in order to achieve a good harvest, they cut off all flower buds and leave only the most developed ones (no more than 10 pieces).
When removing the stepson, you need to leave a stump, which will exclude the formation of a new shoot in the same place
Tomatoes of this type are tall and reach a height of 1.9 m. The formation of plants can be carried out in 2 or 3 stems, which depends on the scheme of planting bushes. It is not worth rushing to prune such varieties, as the plant may stop growing. Only when there is confidence that the stem continues to develop can an operation be performed.
This type includes undersized varieties. Basically, they do not require frequent removal of the processes, but at the same time, you should not completely neglect the procedure. It is best to follow the recommendations given by seed producers when growing crops. To obtain maximum yields of determinant tomatoes, it is recommended to follow the following rules of care:
- stepsons are removed, but gradually and no more than 5 pieces in one go;
- inflorescences are also subject to breaking out, leaving only a few pieces (no more than 3).
When growing determinant varieties, it is necessary to ensure their growth in width, and not in height.
When pruning undersized tomato varieties, you need to strive for their growth in width, and not in height
Features of the formation of tomatoes in the greenhouse
In closed ground, tomatoes are formed taking into account some features. They are, first of all, in conditions that are created for growing crops, as well as the possibilities of greenhouse construction:
- So that the area of the greenhouse economy is used efficiently, and the crop can be plentiful, as a rule, indeterminate tomatoes are cultivated, the formation of which is carried out in one stalk. Such varieties are attached to the trellis only when the bush reaches a certain height, after which they pinch the growth point (the place where the stem develops), and do not forget to remove the lateral processes in a timely manner.
- Indeterminants are often grown in 2 stems. Basically, such a method is resorted to in low greenhouses. In this case, 3–6 brushes are left on each stem.
- Determinant varieties are formed in 2 or 3 stems. Stepsons are left only under the first and second brushes, the rest are broken out. When 3-4 fruiting brushes are formed on an additional shoot, pinch it and transfer it to a strong lateral process of the second order. This moment is precisely what distinguishes from the formation of a bush in unprotected soil.
- When cultivating tomatoes in greenhouse conditions, it is possible to increase the period for fruit ripening. This allows you to leave more flower brushes on plants than in unprotected soil and thereby get a larger crop. At the same time, one should not forget that the culture will need more thorough care and additional nutrition.
- Compared with open ground, in the greenhouse the lateral processes can form much more often, due to more favorable conditions. This suggests the need for timely removal of stepsons.
- In order to be able to harvest an early tomato crop in a greenhouse, it is recommended to grow superdeterminant as well as early determinant varieties. In this case, no more than 3-4 fruit brushes are left on one plant to accelerate the formation and ripening of fruits. Pinch the tops, the formation of the bush is performed in 1 stem, and the lateral processes are removed promptly.
Video: planting tomatoes in a greenhouse
The process of cultivating tomatoes has its own nuances. In order for labor to be justified by a large crop, stepsoning must be performed. The procedure, although difficult, but having become familiar with the sequence of actions, the timing and features of its implementation, it will be quite possible for every vegetable grower to complete it.