How to Prune Tomatoes

More has probably been written on the way to prune tomatoes than almost the other vegetable gardening task. Unfortunately, advice on pruning tomatoes is typically vague, conflicting or downright confusing. the reality is, tomatoes don’t absolutely need to be pruned. Some gardeners allow them to ramble the bottom and never prune them a touch.

However, pruning tomatoes may be a good idea if you would like healthy, productive vines. Pruning may be a lot simpler than you would possibly expect, especially if you are doing a touch hebdomadally therefore the plants don’t become overgrown. Here, we’ve included everything you would like to understand to become a tomato pruning expert.


Determinate tomatoes don’t need pruning – ever. These bush-like plants are bred to prevent growing at a particular height and stop producing fruit at a particular point. If you prune them, you’ll limit their growth even more.

Indeterminate tomatoes are another story, entirely. These subtropical plants from sprawling vines, which if left to their own devices, become a tangled, unproductive mess. Sure, their foliage is pretty, but you’re not growing tomatoes for his or her leaves. you would like healthy, vigorous tomatoes. Tomatoes need access to sunlight to ripen and sweeten properly. If the vines are allowed play, you’ll have fewer fruits and therefore the fruits won’t look or taste nearly as good.


When you first start pruning tomatoes, keep three rules in mind: first, never, ever prune above the highest blossoms. If you are doing this, the plant will stop growing upward. The plant becomes bushier and fewer productive. Next, prune out suckers when they’re small. If you wait until they’re bigger, you risk injuring the plant once you take them off. You’ve also allowed them to divert energy from developing fruits. What are suckers? they’re smaller offshoot branches that grow between the most stem and therefore the branch. Learn more about them here. Here’s a YouTube video that demonstrates, and another shorter one.

Finally, examine the entire plant before you begin removing suckers. Are there new suckers growing at the bottom of the plant? Take them off. What are the plant’s overall health and growth like? Go easy during weather or if the plant seems stressed. Still, confused? Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide to pruning tomatoes.

1. Prune tomatoes early within the morning whenever possible. The stems are crisp and break easily. During the warmth of the day, they become limp and are more likely to tear.

2. check out the plant. Your goal is to coach it so it’s one central trunk with several strong, healthy branches. Once you’ve located the trunk and therefore the main side branches, you would possibly notice smaller branches growing within the crevice where the trunk and main side branches connect. These small ancillary branches will attempt to produce new tomato plants. You don’t want this because it makes the plant large and unmanageable and it actually reduces yields.

3. Once you’ve located an ancillary branch, pinch it between your thumb and forefinger to get rid of it. attempt to make a clean break and avoid ripping the plant.

4. Drop the ancillary branch under the plant to decompose or discard it.

5. Remember, don’t prune any stems that grow above flowers. These are the new growth which will form more blossoms. specialize in removing the stems that form along the most branch instead.

6. If a second trunk emerges from the bottom, remove it. If you’ve got any rooms, you’ll leave it and permit it to become a second tomato, but in most cases, it’s best to require it out.


So, now that you simply understand the principles of pruning tomatoes, you would possibly be wondering how often you would like to prune them. generally, once hebdomadally approximately is typically plenty unless your tomatoes are extremely vigorous. counting on the dimensions of your garden, spending quarter-hour approximately once every week is enough.

Don’t worry if you miss every week or two. Tomato plants will still grow and produce tomatoes albeit they’re not suckered, but keeping them pruned increases your harvest and makes them easier to manage.

How to Prune Tomatoes

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