Rare and Unusual Varieties
More Tomato ArticlesHow to Grow TomatoesCloning Tomato PlantsPruning Tomato Plants When to Plant OutdoorsTomato Companions Tomato Seed Saving
The so-called "tree" known as the Italian Tomato tree and various hybrids thereof, such as the Sprut f1 hybrid from Estonia in the former USSR is not really a tree, it is a very large tomato plant that grows in a prolific vining fashion. The vines can reach 15 - 25 feet in length. Naturally, vines that large need plenty of space as well as trellising. It is not advisable to allow them to sprawl along the ground.
The original tomato trees yield heavy harvests of juicy beefsteak style tomatoes up to 3 lbs each, when properly cared for. The Estonian version, known as Sprut f1 hybrid produces clusters of somewhat smaller tomatoes weighing in at 4.5 - 6 ounces each. Claims that it can produce "14,000 tomatoes" are doubtful, but not actually dis-proven or proven.
For seed germination the best temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees F. Germination at lower temperatures is feasible but slower and at a lower success rate.
Aside from the extensive trellising, Tomato Trees require basically the same care and growing conditions as most other tomato varieties.
Full Sun is best, a light shade won't hurt [much]. Water slowly and deeply . at least an inch of water weekly slightly more in sandy soils. Water 2-3 times weekly, more in dry hot weather. Water the ground around the plants base with as little as possible splashing on the foliage.
Mulch - what a great idea, glad you thought of it ! Mulch suppresses weeds and retains moisture. Organic mulch is fine, consider red tomato mulch for enhanced production.
Red Plastic Mulch for tomatoes has some added benefits, USDA and Clemson University researchers discovered that it increased yields up to 20%. Technically, its not really mulch, but it's increasingly used as mulch. Red plastic mulch's success lies is in its ability to reflect red shades of light back to the plant, accelerating fruit production and producing better yields.
Tomatoes are acid lovers. Composted manures, fish emulsion and high phosphorous fertilizers. Nitrogen fertilizers are fine in moderation but excessive nitrogen will promote lush foliage, and excessive plant growth at the expense of fruit production. Fish emulsion, twice a season - shortly after blossom set, and again when the plants are tomato laden. Dilute accordingly as most are concentrated and will burn the roots.
Optimal soil pH for tomato plants is 6.0 to 6.8
Pinch off suckers to expedite earlier and more robust tomatoes.Beyond pinching back, pruning is not recommended for this variety. Extensive pruning reduces disease resistance as well as hampering fruit production.