If you’re fancy about planting a big, giant tomato plant, then these tips and tricks on How to Grow Tomato As a Tree will come in handy.
Tomatoes qualify as small edible bushes that grow in the corner in small pots. However, you can make them grow tall–to reap more harvest and showcase them as a focal point in the garden. Here are some of the most important things you should do to Grow Tomato As a Tree.
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Tomato As a Tree Record
Growing tomatoes as trees simply mean growing them in a way that helps the plant to achieve a good height.
The idea came from the EPCOT Theme Park, Disney World, Florida, where they grew a Chinese variety known as the “Giant Tree Tomato” (Lycopersicon esculentum). Interestingly, this single tomato plant produced 32,194 tomatoes, which is a world record. This variety can achieve heights of up to 20 feet and a width of up to 12 feet.
Guinness book of world records also features the largest tomato plant, which covers an area of 85.46 m² (919.88 ft²) and was grown by Aleph Inc. (Japan) at Tomato-no-mori in Ecorin-mura, in Eniwa, Hokkaido, Japan. The plant was measured on 10 November 2013.
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Picking the Right Right Tomato Variety to Grow as a Tree
Keep in mind that all tomato varieties can not be grown as a tree. Try growing indeterminate vining tomatoes for best results. You will be surprised to know that the indeterminate plant of the Sungold variety can grow as tall as 8-10 feet tall when trained and maintained well.
These Varieties Can Exceed 8 Feet!
Grow ‘Giant Tree Tomato,’ ‘Sweet Chelsea Hybrid,’ ‘Supersteak,’ ‘Giant Belgium,’ ‘Yellow Pear,’ ‘Early Girl Hybrid,’ and ‘Pineapple.’
The benefit of going tomato as a tree is you get to enjoy a bumper harvest! As the plant grows tall, it branches out more, producing plenty of fruits on each of them!
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Why Grow Tomato as a Tree
According to the Guinness World Records, 32,194 tomatoes were harvested, weighing a total of 522.464 kg (1151.84 lbs), on 24 May 2005 and ended on 20 April 2006, from a single plant in one year.
The plant which achieved this feat is at the Epcot Science project at Walt Disney World Company in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA.
So you can imagine how much harvest you can look forward to if you will grow tomatoes as a tree!
How to Grow a Tomato as a Tree
Besides removing suckers, planting tomatoes in full sun, and keeping them pest and disease-free, here are few more things you should do:
1. Plant Them on the Ground
If you want tall tomato plants, then plant them directly on the ground as it helps them to grow and spread their roots all they want, unlike in pots where they are limited depending on the size. Planting on the ground promotes a tall and robust growth.
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2. Provide Support
For growing a tomato as a tree and helping it achieve tall growth, you will have to provide support of a long trellis or cage. The science behind this is simple, the taller the support, the higher the plant will grow.
Start training the plant from the early stage, and as it starts to cover the trellis, keep increasing its height.
Remember that tomatoes do not have strong stems, and they can not branch out like actual trees. To make them grow and look like one, you will have to train them on support.
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For taller growth, start pruning the plant from the young stage in order to make it grow upward than sidewards. Snip away the stems that grow on the side and also take out the lower branches. This will prompt the plant to invest its energy in the upper stems, making them grow taller and more robust.
Remove suckers from time to time during the growth period as they drain the nutrition of plants and prevent fruiting and flowering. Cut back the lower branches of the tree once it reaches 3-4 feet height.
Here’s a Secret for Healthy and Productive Tomato Plants
Tomatoes are heavy feeders, and fertilizing them at every stage of their growth will give them a much-needed boost.
If you have done a soil test and your soil lacks nitrogen, feed with either a time-release or balanced liquid fertilizer such as 10-10-10, diluted to half of its strength, once in 10-14 days to ensure they grow steadily.
If your soil has sufficient nitrogen, which you can observe by noticing lush growth but fewer fruits, apply low nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 5-10-5
You can also use Epsom salt to provide magnesium and sulfur. Here are all the details!
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5. Keep them Safe from the Wind
Tomatoes are not trees and hence don’t have strong branches that can stand against harsh winds. To ensure the plant stays safe and grows tall without getting damaged, grow it in an area protected from the strong gush of winds.
6. Start them Early
If you are planning to grow tall tomatoes, then it will be best to start them at the perfect time. The timing to plant them should neither be too early nor late. Sow seeds indoors at least 5-6 weeks before the last expected frost date in your area, or buy healthy transplants of tall varieties.
This gives these plants a headstart when you’ll transfer them to the garden, which will eventually promote faster growth.