Clipping tomato plants aids maturity and uniformity control for mechanical harvesting
Tests reported here indicate that mechanical clipping of tomato plants may be used satisfactorily to spread harvest dates and obtain plant uniformity. The delay in harvest may be 7 to 14 days depending upon the physiological age of the plants at time of clipping. The first-flower-cluster clipping gave a 7-day delay whereas clipping at the second- and third-flower-cluster stage gave a 14-day delay. A later clipping treatment —when fruits had first begun to form (pea size)—was found to be too late and reduced yields. It is important that an irrigation be made immediately following the clipping. The new growth is rapid, producing a more vigorous and somewhat larger plant.