How to Prune Tomato Plants

How to Prune Tomato Plants

Are your tomato plants becoming large, unruly, and disease-ridden?

It might be time to prune.

Pruning is the delicate process of removing certain leaves or stems in order to grow larger, more flavorful tomatoes and reduce the plant’s chances of disease or insect damage. While pruning isn’t absolutely necessary, it does ensure all the nutrients go to the plant’s fruit and not to growing more branches and leaves.

Tomato Types

There are two main types of tomato plants:

1) Indeterminate Tomatoes, which will continue to grow and produce fruit until stopped by cold weather. These types of tomato plants require more attention because they will need to be staked and pruned.
2) Determinate Tomatoes, which grows to a certain size, sets fruit all at once and then dies. These compact tomato plants shouldn’t be pruned and usually don’t require support unless the variety you choose has heavier fruit.

We’ve created this simple step-by-step guide on how to prune tomato plants the right way. Flip through the slides below to learn more.

Once your plants are established and start to produce fruit, remove the non-fruiting branches from the bottom of your tomato plants. Next, pluck any tiny suckers you find in the crotch of your plant’s main branches.

It’s best to remove suckers and small branches with no fruit by snapping it off the plant with your fingers right at its base along the main stem. If you cut the branch off, it will create a bigger wound that will take more energy to heal itself.

Prune on a weekly basis if needed even throughout the harvest. When fall approaches, break off the top leaf-branches to quickly ripen the rest of your fruit before the first frost.

If you don’t have time for pruning, plant your tomatoes farther apart and break off just the bottom branches of your tomato plant to stave off early blight.

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