Vegetable Garden Pruning Guide
Vegetable gardens are usually serene places, but the discussions on some gardening forums can get heated. That’s especially true when the topic is vegetable pruning. Some growers are convinced that selectively snipping tomato, squash, pepper, and cucumber plants increases yields and makes the vegetables bigger and tastier. Others argue pruning vegetable plants is a waste of time, or worse: It can injure plants, leave fruit exposed to too much sun, and decrease yields.
What’s a gardener to do? Here’s the bottom line: Pruning veggies usually isn’t necessary, but it may be helpful in certain circumstances. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of pruning different vegetables, and the best ways to prune.
A Primer on Pruning
Pruning is a horticultural practice where a gardener selectively removes parts of a plant –usually the branches, buds, or roots. It’s done to improve air circulation, train a plant to grow a certain way, improve the yield and quality of flowers and fruit, or remove dead or damaged sections.
Nearly all experts agree it’s a good idea to prune certain plants, including fruit and ornamental trees that lose their leaves in the winter, shrubs, roses, perennial flowers, and grapevines. Did you notice veggies aren’t on that list? That’s because the jury is still out on this question.
It’s a good idea to remove yellowed leaves or diseased looking parts of vegetable plants. But beyond that, pruning has pros and cons. To understand the topic better, it’s best to look at the commonly pruned veggies on a case-by-case basis.