Cutting Tomato Leaves to Produce More Fruit — 26 Comments

  1. The suggestion to compost the leaves or use them as mulch is not a good one since it will propagate tomato diseases.

  2. The leaves provide the plant with essential nutrients through photosynthesis. They do not just supply the plant with shade…

    • That’s actually not correct. Photosynthesis does not provide any nutrients. The plant gets the nutrients from the water it absorbs thru the roots and leaves.
      Photosynthesis is when the plant harvests energy from the Sun to use the nutrients to grow.

  3. Several statements in this video are incorrect.
    First, the leaves are not present to provide shade as one commentter stated.
    Second, leaves perform photosynthesis which is the biochemical process of generating energy from sunlight for the plant. Tomato plants require photosynthesis – without it, they die.
    Third, removing the (discolored) leaves helps to reduce growth of diseases (blights) which affect ALL tomato varieties. Hence, removing the leaves slows the onset of diseases during the growing season.
    Fourth, composting or using the cut leaves as mulch is NOT a good idea as the process recycles any diseases back into the soil – so next season’s plants will have a much more difficult time. Composting is possible ONLY if it guaranteed to get hot such that the diseased fungal spores are killed.

    • In order for the compost to be sufficiently hot enough to kill spores if has to reach 170+ degrees for a short period of time.
      Commercial compost is that hot then they flatten the piles out to cool it down.

  4. After reading a few articles about pinching suckers from tomatoes, I suggest not using scissors or nippers for removing the leaves; if the leaves are diseased, the scissors can carry that disease from one plant to another. Those articles suggest pinching out the suckers, so I suggest you can take the leaves off with your fingers.

    And I agree those diseased leaves should not be composted. Put them in the garbage!

  5. Some people may need the additional shading the leafs offer in certain areas while others need to more heavily prune their plants to allow for more light and heat in other areas. Some have very ridged school of thoughts on how things should be done and won’t deviate, I for one like to read various methods and if it makes sense to me I’ll take a few plants and experiment. Usually nothing lost and always something learned!
    For years I’ve cut half the leaf stems on my tomato plants in ‘half’. Also very large leafs get cut off completely. I’ve not invited disease in, not had issues with bugs and have always had great crops that eventually I tire of because they produce for so long.
    Although I must agree with the composting of potentially diseased foliage or fruit….just don’t. It’s not worth it.

  6. Thank you for all the comments. I learned a lot. I have been removing the leaves from the bottom of my tomato plants. I water deeply every other day – when it doesn’t rain. I have some great, big tomatoes on my plants – which are in large pots – but they’re still green. We need some more warm weather to ripen my tomatoes.

  7. First time at this website. And you guys sound like a bunch of 5 year olds playing “I’m right, you’re wrong! Such nit-picking. I would suggest that each of you get your own website! How sad.

  8. Interesting that composting the leaves reintroduce the blight through the soil. How about burning the leaves and composting the ash using a small, enclosed burning camp stove set up! Granted this is micromanaging but for small gardens?

  9. I would like to plant my tomatoes next year in a galvanized watering trough size 3ft long by 2ft high. Any suggestions if that will work or not work?

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