Yellow foliage on tomato plants is common and in some cases watering frequency, nutritional deficiency and diseases are held responsible for these discolored leaves.
Before we proceed, make sure that you’re providing basic watering needs to your plants. Choosing perfect potting soil plays vital role in growing healthy tomatoes. Check for pests and diseases and try to get off them.
Coming back to the topic, should you cut off the yellow leaves on tomato plants?
Yes, you should remove lower yellow leaves on tomato plants. May be lack of sunlight resulted in yellowing of leaves. These leaves in some cases may need more sugar from plant than it produces.
Thus, the burden on green leaves to produce required nutrients and sugar to produce fruits increases. To stop the wastage of sugar produced by your tomato plants, it will be great to cut off lower yellow leaves.
The answer is simple. Yes, you should trim.
But, if you’re an enthusiast gardener you’d love to know in more detail about the studies carried out after and before cutting yellow leaves and how it impacts the yield and fruit size.
Causes: Yellow Leaves on Tomato Plants
Tomato plant leaves turn yellow due to stress. Watering schedule, garden soil, deficiency in fertilizers or disease can be held responsible for this. Apart from this, yellowing of bottom leaves is natural process. You don’t have to worry about it. Just cut it off.
As your tomato plant grows, in the beginning it’s going to be beautiful and bushy. But, as it grows it will lose some of its leaves at the bottom.
You don’t have to freak out!
Your plant is simply shedding what it doesn’t need. Any leaf that isn’t getting enough sun will be tossed away. It’s a natural way of plant to ensure good circulation.
But, said that.
If you notice yellow leaves anywhere else instead of bottom of the tomato plant. Then you must check out few things, like your potting soil, watering schedule and make sure that you’re fertilizing your plant with enough ratio of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.
Also Read this article: How Long Can a Tomato Plant Go Without Water?
Why Should I Cut Off Yellow Leaves on Tomato Plants?
If you see yellow foliage at bottom of the plant then you can straight away cut it off.
It’s the part of natural process and the reason they lost the green color is because of low sunlight.
Now, there are some claims that removing these yellow leaves will result in good harvest as the plant is wasting its nutrients on these yellow foliage.
According to gardening experts, yellow leaves aren’t much effective in carrying photosynthesis like green leaves. So they are drain sugar from the tomato plant.
It’s better to cut it off. Else, the green foliage needs to produce extra sugar through photosynthesis to maintain these yellow leaves and for fruit production.
Growing Tomatoes in Green House
In this report, tomato plants that are grown commercially in green house resulted in excessive yield after pruning or removing of old leaves.
In green house bottom leaves are removed to avoid any loss of light and drain of sugars from plant.
Read this: How Long After Flowering Do Tomatoes Appear?
Growing Tomatoes in Containers
Tomatoes broadly fall into two types, determinate and indeterminate tomato plants.
Determinate are shrub like plants that will have no positive impact if you cut or leave yellow leaves. However, gardening experts recommend removing this yellow foliage at the bottom of the plant.
Indeterminate tomato plants are like vines. They spread over the garden. Removing yellow leaves of these plants may help the plant to increase the yield.
Home gardeners grow both of these varieties. Know your tomato plant variety to know the impact of cutting or removing of yellow leaves on tomato plants.
Read this article about pruning tomato plant leaves.
Cut Off Yellow Leaves on Tomato Plants: Will This Stop the Spread of Diseases?
In some cases, yellow leaves can indicate plant disease.
So, to stop further spread gardening expert recommend to remove yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant.
But, can removing lower yellow leaves alone stop the disease? I don’t think so.
If you’re talking about soil borne diseases, then yes removing lower leaves will stop the spread. However, alternatively you can also use mulch to stop the spread of disease.
Note: Removing lower leaves that have ability to make sugar will impact the production of fruits. Because your tomato plant needs excess sugar before it starts fruiting.
Cutting off lower leaves will decrease the ability of your plant to produce fruit. Not that, it can’t produce fruits, but it may take few more days or weeks.
Conclusion: Cutting off lower yellow leaves will help to restrain disease spread. But, don’t remove all lower leaves.
Must Read This: Why Are My Tomato Seedlings Dying?
If you find yellow leaves at the bottom of tomato plant then it’s a natural process you don’t have to worry.
Just cut it off. Removing them will save sugar drain and that in turn help your plant to increase the yield. However, it depends on the variety you choose.
In some cases, yellow leaves are a warning. You must ensure that you’re watering tomato plant regularly and chose well drain fertile soil. Even in this case you can cut off yellow leaves, but at the same time provide required elements for the plant.
Third case is when your tomato plant is attacked by diseases it signals you with yellow leaves. Removing the affected leaf will reduce or stop the spread of disease. At the same time you must use pesticide to save your tomato plant.