Okra: prunning leaves as fruit is picked, Comments?
First year my growing Okra. I have Clemson spineless, cowhorn, burmese, 16" Louisiana.
I have noticed, the fruit sets at the node (angle of the leaf and stem). Some nodes grow shoots instead of fruit. As you pick the fruit from lower node, next node sets a fruit or shoot and that continues up the plant and the lower nodes no longer bear any more fruit. I have noticed that after you cut the fruit off, that leaf gradually dies. Within a day or so, the leaf stalk just bends as if somebody actually tried to break it.
So, I thought, if the leaf is going to die after fruiting, why not just remove it. So, I have been prunning the leaves near the stem soon after picking the fruit. I think it removs all excess and old leaves. It gives the plant more light and makes harvesting much easier. Before this I found it harder to harvest because of all the little prickles on the leaves and sticking my arms through the dense leaves to reach the farther plant caused some spines to get in the hands or arms and keep irritating for couple of days (i have them planted as a group rather than in rows).
also notice that removing the leaves seems to promote emergence of new shoots which then bear fruit. That is particularly usefull for the Clemson which has only one vertical stalk without side branches.
Picking the leaves like this seemes to have caused no harm to the plant. I first thought that leaves are responsible for synthesizing the nutrition for the plants, so they should not be removed.
The plants are already 8 feet high, harder to harvest the higher up fruit. I am thinking that next year I will trim the growing top when plant gets to may be 4-5 feet.