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Cutting okra & tomatoe plants back Answered

What is the correct way to shorten or cut back Okra plant to get fuller more productive crop?
Also, if you know the same thing for tomatoe plants? 
Both seem to be taking off to the skies!! This has happened 2 years in a row. I know I can get more crop if kept cut back. But don't know the proper way.  : (




Best Answer 6 years ago

There are two different kinds of tomato plants, determinant and indeterminate. Determinant ones will only get to a certain size and then stop. Their growth is limited. If you cut them back they will regrow but again will only get so big. Indeterminate ones just keep getting bigger and bigger with no real size limit. The idea of cutting them back is to encourage the plant to finish the developing tomatoes rather than producing more new ones. This is good if its towards the end of the season and you know there is not enough time for new tomatoes to fully develop. So cutting off the little new green ones will usually let the plant put its resources into the ones it has left. Determinant plants do not appear to need this pruning as their growth stops at a certain point anyway. Indeterminate ones that will just keep going can benefit from trimming to force the development of those late tomatoes. I usually don't bother cutting mine back since our growing season is so short. I pick the green ones and hope they ripen eventually after the first frost. I also don't bother to stake my tomatoes but instead just let them sprawl on the ground. But I have the space to let them do that. It also helps to hide the ripe tomatoes from the deer who will pick them clean of whatever is visible.
Okra I have no idea about as I have never grown it.

Unfortunately it is 109 degrees here today. I can't believe there growing at all.
Water Water water is all I do. They have come to a slow ripening stage cause its sooo hot. Live in East Texas heat wave. Thanks for tips everyone.

The tomatoes will do just fine without pruning. In fact, they will generally do far better if left unwounded imo/ime, as wounding the plants often introduces disease, some of which can backtrack into the soil, making future crops less productive. Invest in some decent stakes and use a woven fence to support the plants. I've had plants grow as high as 8 feet and produce all the way to the top of the plant.

Right now, my plants, planted in late June, are about 5 feet high, and while no ripe tomatoes are present yet, I have 70 golf-ball or larger tomatoes on the Early Girls (with significant amounts more to come) and about 1/2 that number on my Romas. The Romas are somewhat shorter, I suppose due to the fact that they're determinate, but they do seem to have started to kick in in the past week and are standing about 3-1/2 feet high so far.

I just wish I'd been able to dig the garden earlier than I was able, to increase my crop and have some ripe ones already.

Can't say anything about Okra, as I've never grown it.

I remember watching a tv programme on hydroponically-grown tomatoes and they grew so high, they simply let the plant drape back down again once it had hit their 'ceiling' height. No pruning at all.

fwiw, seandogue, I'm curious, are your toms grown under shelter?

Nope. They're just grown in the back yard garden.

Yeah, indeterminates will continue to grow as long as the season lasts, they're properly watered and fed, and very important...they're properly supported.

I've experienced it on stubbier trellis systems, but I'm not too fond of allowing them to fold-over, since the stems get pinched and often will tear or break due to the strain, and they seem to stall out once they've folded.. idk, maybe it's because we don't get full sunlight in my forested area but I prefer to keep them growing vertically as high as I can get them to. a step ladder if necessary to pick the fruit, I don't care.

Wow, I wish I was your neighbour! lol!

Happy growing, Percy Thrower! ;-)

I'm surprised. I'd think you'd be able to grow tomatoes far longer and more productively. They say England has a much more favorable climate than the most of the US. Or is that only in the South? (I read in another article that you live in the North of Britain.)

Hmm...have you ever tried Early Girl or Better Boy? (Can you get Early Girl or Better boy in the UK?) They're both high producers, as long as you feed on schedule and keep their soil nice and soft. And as I recall, you're a producer of compost, which Tomatoes seem to love. (methinks it's the acid)

Even a few plants will produce quite a few fruits.

You are right on all counts - as usual! lol!

I'll check on the tomato varieties you talk about and place my order. We get through amazing amounts of toms, frankly I'm embarassed not to have grown them before now.

While the weather can be quite different from North/South UK, I have read many times how a small polytunnel 'oop 'ere North can be so useful as to nearly double a crop. I wonder if you might enjoy such a boon?

Now my wife has threatened divorce if such a structure appears in our garden but then again, I am keeping rabbits and chickens when she said no - lol!

My ("Market Miracle") tomato plant is approaching 6 feet, and the more experience tomato grower who's advising me says that's just fine as long as I keep it supported. So, since I don't have the nice modular/stacking tomato cages she uses, I've got a set of 8' bamboo poles around it, stuck a foot and a half into the ground (because that's how deep I'd cultivated) that spot), with strings between them every foot or so.

Frankly, we're a bit surprised it's been setting fruit as well as it has; it's in the sunniest corner of a pretty thoroughly shaded yard.

I agree with your adviser, although I'd suggest making the "rungs' of your woven fence a bit tighter. I use about a 6 inch spacing and bought a 1000ft roll of twine to facilitate it.

I weave the stems into the "rungs and use a length of twine to support heavier sections by making a loop around the stem under leaves off the rungs.