Fresh market tomatoes were evaluated at the Pinney-Purdue Ag Center in Wanatah, Indiana. Fourteen cultivars were evaluated in a replicated trial, and 26 cultivars in an unreplicated observation trial. Half of the plants of each cultivar were pruned, and half were not, to evaluate pruning effects on yield and fruit quality. In the replicated trial, averaged over all cultivars,
pruning reduced yield of No. 1 fruit by 41%, increased fruit size by 19%, and increased percentage of cull fruit by one-third. The effect of pruning on early yield depended on the cultivar. Based on these results, pruning would be advised only when larger fruit size is essential, and/or the harvest
period will be short, i.e. three weeks rather than six weeks. For pruning to be profitable, the labor cost of pruning and the reduction in total yield must be offset by higher prices or other market advantage.
variety trials, tomatoes, vegetables, Lycopersicon esculentum, pruning, Solanum lycopersicum
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