Late Season Tomatoe Pruning

Asked August 30, 2020, 10:05 PM EDT

Hello, Is it too late to prune tomato plants? We're first year gardeners with a large garden and more than 50 tomato plants. They are mostly robust and have a lot of fruit. The problem is that we never pruned them. We tied them up until they got too big and then corralled them in cages. It seems like the abundant fruit isn't ripening because they're too close together and each plant has too many vines. Can we prune them now and get the remanding fruit to ripen? We're in the Deadwood valley. Best, Brent

Lane County Oregon

3 Responses

Pruning removes photosynthesizing material which feeds the plant and helps ripen the tomatoes. Where you are tomatoes are slower to ripen. The fruit does not need direct sun, just the leaves. The tomatoes ripen best with a bit of sun protection. I am on the other side of the mountain from you and only my cherry tomatoes are ripening red, but the others are starting to show color. It is just a factor of where we are. We are both cooler than the valley floor. I get my best results by using trellising and no pruning, but constant attention to keeping the vines up on the trellis. The only pruning is of damaged leaf areas-yellowing, brown spotting etc. and at the base to improve airflow and prevent disease. I am afraid you'll just need to be patient at this point. Also, temps above 90 slow the plants down, so all processes take longer.

Thank you, this is very reassuring!