Tree tomato Fruit can be red or yellow; personally, I prefer the tangy red ones. The plants grow from seed to about 2m tall, long and leggy, and only fruit after they have formed several branches, usually after Year 2.
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To get the most out of your tree tomato:
- They only live for about 12 years, so always have a few young ones coming on to replace the old ones;
- Tip cuttings will fruit sooner, and tend to produce a stronger, more compact bush;
- In coastal and windy areas, it pays to shelter the trees, and cover them during a frost;
- Don’t put them in your greenhouse; they grow better outside away from whitefly which covers them like snow otherwise;
- Feed them like a tomato, with plenty of nitrogen and trace elements;
- Pruning increases fruit size, so in summer trim some of those leggy growing branch ends back by 60cm.
Combine it all and you can harvest up to 20kg per plant – we have had a crate box full off one tree.
Two Deadly Enemies of Your Tree Tomato
Nematodes are tree-tomatoes worst enemy, they survive by feeding directly off the nutrients pumped through tree-tomatoes roots. They form galls that can reach up to an inch wide where they hide and reproduce, causing many symptoms that point to problems in infected plants’ transport systems. Yellowing plants, stunted growth and general decline are early symptoms, but unless your bed is heavily infected with nematodes, a large tree-tomato planting will only show these symptoms in a relative few plants. They typically appear in soils where tree-tomatoes and other root knot nematode host plants have been grown in the last three to five years, and populations increase the longer an area is used. If you suspect your tree-tomatoes plants have nematodes, start by digging up a particularly weak plant. Roots that have a lot of unusual knobby growths are infected with these parasites.