should I cut off all of the lower branches of my tomatoes - those which touch...

Asked June 6, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT

should I cut off all of the lower branches of my tomatoes - those which touch the ground? Every year my tomoatoes get a disease - what should I be spraying them with now?

Montgomery County Maryland vegetables

1 Response

Removal of lower leaves and suckers is not a bad idea. This increases the airflow around the plants. This allows them to dry faster, and lessens the change of disease splashing up on the plant from the soil. You should also put down a thick layer of organic mulch (grass, straw, newspaper) or plant on plastic mulch. Remove yellowing leaves as you see them, but notice that it is natural for older leaves to do this.
Here is our publication IPM:Tomatoes, which is very helpful for tomato growers:
http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG56%20IPM%20Tomatoes.pdf
End of season clean up(sanitation) and choosing cultivars which are bred with disease resistance are other ways to reduce the incidence of disease.
cm