The optimal time for cluster pruning

by Haim Cohen, Arava, Israel

Question

I grow cluster tomatoes (Shiren and Antonella) in the Arava valley.
I would like your opinion about the optimal time for cluster pruning in order to get the best regularity and fruit size.

George

Dear Haim,
The best time for cluster pruning depends on the number of fruits you would like to have on each cluster and the type of the crop. In large tomatoes, if you want 5 fruits per cluster wait until 4 fruits have already set and prune all but one additional flower. And the same goes for 6, 7 and 8 fruits per cluster. Always wait till you have one fruit less than the final number and prune all but one additional flower.
For cherry, when you want over 8 fruits per cluster, it is advisable to leave two additional flowers, just in case.
As for the recommended number of fruits – we recommend pruning of Antonella to 4 or 5 fruits (remember that this means 3 or 4 fruits + one flower, respectively); and Shiren, for a final 13-14 fruits (which means 12 fruits + 2 flowers).