Posted: 16/04/2012 at 12:44
The thing that is not covered here is whether or not to remove some of the actual large leaves as well as pinching out the shoots that appear in between the large leaves and the main stem.
I've been told by one person to take off most leaves because the energy then goes into the fruit and by someone else to leave them on because they are acting as an energy absorber.
I'm up to two trusses of fruit now so any advice would be gratefully received.
The only real reason to remove foliage from a tomato plant is to aid air circulation to help against fungal problems. Cluttered foliage and no air circulation are the fungal spores' friends.
Nipping off the laterals - the side shoots - can help the anti-fungal cause. It used to be said that removing the laterals increased production. Testing has proved that it doesn't.
It's also possible to remove some excess foliage on the same basis. It's a matter of striking a balance. Foliage is essential to the plant for (a) photosynthesis; and (b) protecting the fruit from direct, hot sun and the chance of sunscald (sunburn). On these bases, removing all the foliage is the last thing you'd want to do.