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[Tomato Dirt #82] Do Your Tomato Plants Need a Trim? When and When Not to Prune Tomatoes
June 15, 2015

Tomato Dirt Newsletter
Volume 5, Number 9

Dear Tomato Dirt reader,

Welcome back to Tomato Dirt! Once or twice a month, we’ll send you this newsletter packed with tips about growing tomatoes and using them.

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FEATURE: Do Your Tomato Plants Need a Trim? When to Prune Tomatoes

Image: A Garden for The House

How can you know if your tomato plants need to be pruned? Many successful tomato gardeners never pick up a pruning clippers.

Use these tips to know if pruning tomatoes in your garden will give you more tomatoes, bigger tomatoes, and more flavorful tomatoes.

Prune tomatoes if …

  • Your plants are indeterminate tomatoes. Indeterminates continue to grow until frost. Pruning tomato suckers on indeterminates helps produce healthier, tastier, more abundant fruit.
  • Lower leaves are 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.
  • Your tomatoes are staked. Staking and pruning go hand in hand, as both allow leaf tips to be open to the sun without excess stress, leading to stronger, more flavorful fruit.

Consider skipping (or limiting) pruning if …

  • Your plants are determinate tomatoes. Determinates 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, or you will reduce your yield.
  • You live in a hot climate. Pruning opens up the plant and fruit to more exposure. Too much sunlight or steady, intense sunlight can lead tomatoes to develop sunscald.
  • Your tomatoes are not staked. Suckers are difficult (nearly impossible) to identify in sprawling plants.

Find out different methods to use to prune tomato plants

… and see how-tos on our Pruning Tomatoes Pinterest Board.

Tomato Growing Tip #9: When Tomato Stems to Prune

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Get more tips for growing tomatoes on our Tomato Growing Tips Pinterest board.

Tools to Help You Prune Tomatoes

Fiskars Traditional Pruning Clipper Shears Women's Garden Gloves, 6 Pair Pack, assorted colors. Women's Medium

More About Pruning Tomatoes and Staking Tomatoes

Pruning Tomatoes: Suckers and Simple Pruning Pruning Tomato Plants: Different Methods to Use Basics about Staking Tomatoes How to Tie Up Tomato Plants

That’s it for now. More next time!

Until then, happy gardening!

Kathy with Tomato Dirt
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