Thinning Bushy Tomatoes & Pruning A Flowering Cherry

Question:

have two tomato plants growing in large pots. They are doing really well, in fact, you can almost watch them grow. But, I'm a bit concerned because they are so very busy. Should I strip some of the growth off or just let them continue to grow? 

Answer:

  • Tomatoes need to be bushy with lots of leaves. The foliage cover is a type of natural sun block protecting the ripening tomatoes from sunburn. Sunburn is a tan or beige spot on the fruits' south and southwest side. But, you can have too much of a good thing.
  • I'd selectively thin out the inside, secondary shoot(s) that form where a leaf connects to a stem. The center of the plant(s) becomes crowded and dense as the plant(s) mature, especially when using a tomato cage. This will let in more light and increase the air circulation throughout the plant, keeping the inside foliage from turning brown. I'd repeat this as necessary.
  • Also, You should also be on the lookout for Tomato Hornworm. They like to hide out in the center of the plant and eat their way to outward. Another sign is the black insect dropping on the ground. I'd check each plant weekly until the end of September. They can destroy a plant if left unchecked. You can pick them off or spray them with BT or Captain Jack Dead Bug Brew when caught early. BT or Captain Jack Dead Bug Brew are organic pesticides that are safe around pets and children.

Question:

My six-year-old Weeping Cherry tree requires pruning. The flowing branches are near to the ground. When is it safe to cut back or shorten these branches?

Answer:

  • Flowering Cherry and other flowering trees can be pruned now, but the traditional time is earlier after they finish flowering.
  • Before pruning, I'd step back and determine all the viewing points of the tree, especially those from inside the house. These inside viewing areas are often overlooked, missing an opportunity to bring more of the outside inside. The view from the driveway is also overlooked.
    • Today.most homeowners enter and exit their house through the garage, not the front door. Thus, the driveway, not the curbside, is the primary point where the front yard is viewed. All these observations help decide how you will prune the Weeping Crabapple tree. You raise the canopy by cutting the branches straight after picking a point off the ground.
    • This may be too formal looking for the rest of the landscape or from the critical viewing points. Another option is to vary the lengths of the branches. You soften the look by blending the vertical lines into the background.
    • Finally, it is helpful to have a partner when pruning. One individual does the trimming while the other identifies where the branches are to be pruned.