Pruning Tomato SCX824

Vegetable Production

Pruning Tomato SCX824

The pruning of indeterminate open field tomato plants is a rather unconventional practice. However, by applying this practice by means of double stem pruning, Tomato SCX824 achieved some excellent results. The best time to start pruning is when the plant has made its first flower truss on the main stem.

In picture 1 you can see unpruned young plants (Suckers not removed).

In Picture 2 you can see pruned young plants (Suckers removed) – Second stem just below first flower truss.

As shown in Picture 2 all suckers are then removed except for the strong sucker on the leaf just below the first flower truss. This sucker will be the second stem. All successive suckers on both stems are then removed as soon as they appear. This forces the plant to better utilise its energy in producing fruit, compared to vegetative growth.

When SCX824 tomatoes are pruned in double stems, at a height of 1,8-2 meter/s, there are on average 7 fruit bearing trusses on each stem. Each of these trusses bears 5-8 fruits weighing 130-160 gram. This makes the potential yield more than 100 tons per hectare! The fruit of SCX824 have very thick walls which results in exceptional fruit quality and thus a very high pack out rate.

Pruning of SCX824 also have multiple other benefits which include:

• Ensuring large fruit sizes to the top of the plant.
• Fruits are more exposed which makes the spraying coverage easier especially against Tuta Absoluta.
• Less vegetative growth means less foliar disease.
• Earlier maturity of fruit

Written / compiled by Hannes van der Merwe – Field Officer, Brits.

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