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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Pruning Determinate Tomatoes in the Fall

Q. I know Roma tomato plants are determinate in their growth but if I keep them healthy will they set a fall crop for me?

A. All I can tell you is what I think will happen if it is a determinate tomato and how to prune it for fall production. There are a lot of unknowns involved but this should give you the best chance.

Roma Confusion

            Roma tomatoes are a certain type of tomato good for making tomato paste because they dont have a lot of water inside the fruit. So sometimes Romas are mixed with paste tomatoes and plum tomatoes and called paste types. Yes, Roma is determinate but paste types are predominantly indeterminate. So check what you got.

Determinate Vs Indeterminate

Determinate tomatoes are plants that are bush-like and produce fruit over a short time so it’s easier to pick. Indeterminate tomato plants grow as tomato “vines” and produce fruit spread out along these vines over a longer time. So-called Roma tomatoes are considered paste or plum tomatoes and many of these types can be either determinate or indeterminate. It’s good to know which you are buying for proper spacing and management.

Fall Pruning

            All plants need new growth to set flowers and fruit. For Fall production we want to stimulate new growth when air temperatures are entering the mid 90s. While indeterminate tomatoes can be cut back a lot in the Fall because they are so long, determinate types are cut back less due to their smaller plant size. Prune the plant back enough to provide for new growth but not enough to open the plant canopy for sunburn. Follow this pruning with water and fertilizer.

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