Virtually most horticultural crops, shrubs and trees are sensitive to pruning, a technique widely used in all types of gardening. Especially for fast-growing plants, such as summer fruits and vegetables, well-made pruning suits them very well, because we regulate growth and control the quality of production.
In this case, the size of the watermelon is very interesting when we favor quality over quantitybecause a large fruit set will inevitably limit the final size (and probably the sugar content) of the fruit.
In this article We advise you on the size of the watermelon. When to do it, why and the types of sizes of watermelons.
There is no single technique for pruning a watermelon, as making the proper cuts on the plant is fundamentally dependent on the mastery of the grower.
In any case, there are some basic rules that we can follow when we can our watermelon, the main objective being to control its growth and the number of fruits per plant.
Benefits of watermelon pruning
All cucurbits (cucumber, zucchini, melon, watermelon, etc.) tend to have indeterminate growth and are “jungle” species. They produce many leaves and stems in conditions of warm temperatures and high humidity.
For this reason, it is advisable to analyze which stems will remain on the plant, always seeking to optimize the energy supply of the plant and focusing on its production.
Some benefits of watermelon pruning are the following:
- Control stem development and avoid a very vegetative plant.
- Favor the entry of light into all the stems.
- Improve the aeration of the plant to prevent the occurrence of neck and stem diseases.
- Remove deformed, damaged, fungus-affected, or dry stems, leaves, or fruit.
- Increase the number of flowers produced.
- Improve the distribution of sap and sugars to fruits.
On the other hand, the negative factor of improperly made watermelon pruning must also be taken into account. If many stems containing flowering nodes are excessively removed, production will be drastically reduced.
The best thing to do is to follow our instincts and focus mainly on eliminating very long and unproductive stems, excess fruit per plant which will affect its final size and having a balanced plant.
When do you prune watermelons?
There is no specific time to prune watermelons, as it is recommended to do so throughout its production phase. The most critical stage is just before flowering and fruit set, as this is when the plant is most sensitive and most affected by changes.
Later, once the fruits set, even very small and the size of a golf ball, one can eliminate those which are affected or simply avoid a massive number of fruits per plant.
The purpose of maintenance pruning in this cucurbit is to radjust the length and number of rods and avoid overproduction which reduces the entry of light and air inside.
This size is the most complex since it is done before the flowers come out, Therefore, in inexperienced hands, it will be limited to cutting or eliminating affected, damaged stems or stems that protrude above the surface of the crop intended for watermelon.
Production control size
This pruning is easier to master since it consists of avoid overproduction of fruit. In general, a watermelon plant should have between 2 and 4 fruits. If we want bigger fruits, we will leave less fruits per plant. If we want smaller watermelons we can leave up to 6 fruits, although 3 or 4 is ideal.
Many fruits per plant will reduce their size and, much worse, the concentration of sugars they contain. In this case, quality is better than quantity.
To do this, we will only act when the fruits are already put, after flowering. We will count the number of fruits per plant and we will eliminate according to the number that we want per plant. It is advisable to leave a fruit for each tertiary stem, so that the diffusion of the sap is as effective as possible.
With sharp scissors, we will cut right at the point where the petiole meets the fruitto prevent the spread of diseases entering through the wound.