Growing tomatoes up rather than out is probably the most popular vertical gardening technique of all. Growing tomatoes is likely one of summer’s most common garden projects. If you prune your plants and prize tomatoes appear, but the plants are not staked, your plants won't be able to hold the weight and will fall to the ground. Pruning and staking go hand in hand. This helps keep the commonly huge vines in control, and it encourages the plant to produce several large tomatoes instead of lots of foliage and many smaller tomatoes. Tomato suckers are the small sprouts that form in the crotch where leaves connect to the stem. garden clippers). Remove suckers judiciously, and your plant will form larger, fewer fruits toward the top of the plant. And, Angus says, “That means pruning them.” To understand how best to prune your plant, it’s a good idea to understand these basic points about the structure of a tomato plant: Let all the suckers grow, and your tomato will form a large bushy plant with many small tomatoes. Unpruned foliage will eventually grow into new branches that will form fruit, but most experienced growers advise that tomatoes should be pruned to not only produce larger fruit earlier in the season but also to protect the plants against pest and disease problems. Here are two tried and true ways. Indeterminate tomatoes are tall and vining, and plants need substantial stakes or tall cages. Pruning up the bottom of plants allows for better air circulation, and better plant health. Learn how to prune your apple tree so you can reap a bountiful harvest. Tomato plants form a growing stem that pops out of the crotch where a leaf attaches to the main stem. Who can resist picking a vine-ripened ‘mater that’s sweet, juicy and warm from the sun? If you're not concerned about growing large fruit or trying to keep the plants under control, you don't need to worry about pruning. Pruning your tomato plants will reduce the number of stems and leaves on the plant. Not all types of tomatoes need to be pruned. In fact, a Purdue study found that there was a 25% increase in fruit size when the suckers are pruned. Pruning Tomato Plants. How to prune a tomato plant Pruning a tomato plant is often easy to do without even tools to aid. If you're growing indeterminate tomatoes, which produce fruit regularly over the course of a season, pruning is essential. This will also result in a tomato plant that quickly outgrows its space in the garden. Prune each stem to about the same length. Some gardeners prefer to prune out everything that is below the first flower cluster for strong stem growth. The best time to prune tomato plants is in the early morning on a dry day. How to Prune Tomatoes. Using a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears, snip these small sucker branches off. On the other hand, if your plant produces fewer tomatoes, the fruit may grow larger. If you catch them when they’re small enough, you can easily pinch them with your fingers. Remove the leaves if they touch the ground. 1  If left unpruned, these suckers will eventually grow into full-sized branches—adding lots of foliage and, eventually, a few fruits. A tomato tree in Epcot's Land Pavilion at Walt Disney World broke records in 2016 when it produced a one-year harvest of 32,000 tomatoes. That little shoot is known as a sucker (above). Plenty of people do not prune at all and still grow good tomatoes. Many gardeners don’t prune determinate tomatoes (above), especially in regions with short growing seasons. Tomatoes are not one of those plants that require pruning or deadheading in order to thrive, but shrewd pruning can improve the quality of the fruit you harvest.. Warnings. Fantastico is a grape tomato that’s determinate, growing to form a tidy bush. Before you make any cuts, figure out whether you're growing an indeterminate or determinate variety of tomato plant. Whenever possible, remove the suckers when they are small. Why should you consider pruning tomatoes? Pruners are easy to manoeuvre, as they are a hand-held tool and are easy to work with on the tomato plant. That way, all the leaves have ample access to sunlight. Suckers under two inches long can simply be pinched off with your fingers, but with larger suckers, use a pair of clean pruners, disinfecting them as you move from plant to plant to protect against spreading diseases. 2. Removing Bottom Branches And Foliage Some controversy exists over whether or not tomato plants should be pruned, and the reality is that if you don't, it will not cause problems. When To Prune Tomatoes? [2] While you’re at it, use poles, trellises, or cages to keep the tomato vines off of the ground. Fewer flowers means fewer tomatoes. Leaving them on will take the energy away from the leaves, slowing fruit production and growth. Determine which variety you're growing. As well as that, their size matches exactly the tomato branches, as they don't cut anything bigger than 1 inch. What Are Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes? Why Are the Bottoms of My Tomatoes Rotting? All of the leaves will not receive the needed sunlight and the plants will run a high risk of disease. At all and still grow good tomatoes the very last frost you are growing tomatoes. Determinate, growing to form a growing stem that flowers and bears tomatoes suckers creates open wounds a. 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