Feature: Pinch Me! How to Know If Your Tomatoes Need Pruning
Image: Tomato Dirt
Pruning tomato plants can maximize the number, size, and flavor of your tomatoes. You can also prune your tomatoes to encourage earlier production.
Use this guide to know if your tomatoes are begging you for a pinch … or not.
Do your plants put out plenty of side stems? Suckers – those new branches that grow out of the tomato’s main stem, just above a leaf branch or side stem (in the “crotch”), pull away energy from the plant’s blossoms. Pruning them puts more energy into the fruit.
Is your tomato plant a determinate variety? Determinate tomatoes set the bulk of their crop at one time. Each plant will
produce a limited number of fruit before ceasing production. Avoid pruning tomato determinate varieties or pinch back only suckers that appear below the first flower cluster.
Do you live in a hot climate? If so, be careful not to over-prune. Too much sunlight or steady, intense sunlight can lead tomatoes to develop sunscald.
Are lower leaves yellow? As a tomato plant matures, its lower leaves begin to yellow. Pinch or prune yellowed leaves to prevent disease, improve the tomato plant’s appearance, and help the plant keep its energy focused on fruit production.
Find out more advantages and tips about pruning tomatoes so you can have healthy, productive tomatoes all season long.
Nope. You may choose not to prune your tomatoes and still have a good crop. Tomatoes require only sun, water, and nutrients to grow. Pruning enhances production – more tomatoes, bigger tomatoes, and more flavorful tomatoes. But your tomato plants can produce excellent fruit if you choose not to prune.