Pruning tomato plants is a pretty easy task. Proper pruning helps the foliage get adequate sunlight and grow large, healthy fruit more efficiently. It can also protect the plants against pests and diseases.
Not all tomato plants need to be pruned. Determinate plants, also called “bush” plants, should not be pruned because they grow all of their fruit around the same time. Pruning also will not determine the size and vigor of its fruit. If you prune, you may be sacrificing future fruit. However, if you are growing indeterminate tomato plants, also called “vining” plants, you will indeed need to prune.
When you are pruning, you will be looking for “suckers,” or the tiny branches that grow in the space between the main stem and the branches of your plant.
To Prune Your Tomatoes:
- Locate the suckers on your plant.
- Pinch the sucker at its base.
- Remove the suckers.
- If it is shorter than two inches, you can pull it off with your fingers.
- If it is longer than two inches, use a pair of clean pruners. Be sure to disinfect your tools as you move from plant to plant.
Suckers have the potential to grow to the size of a normal branch, but it’s better to remove these while they’re small to avoid stripping the main stem of its outer layer of tissue. Pruning tomato plants doesn’t take that much effort, but taking the time to care for these plants will allow for a much more successful growing season.