Vol 120 (2007): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society

Effects of early pruning on 'Florida-47' and 'Sungard' tomatoes

Bielinski M. Santos
Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, IFAS, University of Florida, Balm, FL
Published December 1, 2007
  • Lycopersicon esculentum,
  • growing practices,
  • cultural practices,
  • shoot removal,
  • crop management


The effects of early pruning on the growth and yield of 'Florida-47' and 'Sungard' tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were assessed in west-central Florida. Each cultivar was established in separate experiments. The four pruning treatments consisted of leaving one, two, and three main stems in the tomato plants below the first flower cluster, and a non-pruned control. Early pruning had significant effects on 'Sungard' and 'Florida-47' plant height at 3 and 4 weeks after transplanting, respectively. Tomato plants with a single stem were 13% and 10% taller than the ones in the non-pruned control, respectively. However, this effect disappeared 1 and 2 weeks later in 'Sungard' and 'Florida-47'. Regardless of the cultivar, early pruning did not influence both early and total tomato marketable yield, with average yields ranging between 12.7 and 17.2 ton/acre. This cultural practice did not affect the partitioning to different fruit categories in both 'Sungard' and 'Florida-47' tomatoes. The data suggested that early pruning can temporarily change plant architecture of 'Sungard' and 'Florida-47' tomatoes, explaining the perceived increased plant vigor in comparison with the non-pruned control. However, the effect disappeared during the growing season and did not reflect on marketable yields of both tomato cultivars.