It’s Tomato Jungle Season around here now. We figured this would be a good time to give some quick tips on pruning your tomato plants so you get the most out of them. Pruning will increase airflow, giving leaves and fruit more room to breath. Most importantly, it allows the plants to concentrate their energy on creating bigger, better tomatoes!
All of the plants we plant and sell are indeterminate, this means they will grow as tall as they possibly can. So, some sort of support is necessary. We hang strings from the top of the hoop houses, but a tomato cage or stake would work fine too. Next we train the plants down to two main leaders. These are like the brain of the plant. To determine the leaders we look for the ones that are the thickest, and have the most well established blossoms. Once the leaders are chosen, the rest are suckers. Suckers grow from the armpit of the leaders. See picture below.
Suckers get their bad rep because they can suck the energy out of the plant. If left unkempt, tomato plants could have many,many leaders but still a limited amount of energy to produce fruit. By removing suckers the tomato plant only has to focus on a few leaders and their fruits. This results in large fruits and yields.
Once you’ve decided on the leaders and have removed the suckers, make sure to also clean up the bottom of the plant. We like to remove the bottom 4 inches or so of foliage so the plants have more airflow and there is less room for disease.
This is a weekly or biweekly task for us, the suckers keep coming back so we try our best to keep up on it and advise you do the same to get the most out of your plants.
There is a ton of information out there on tomato pruning. And of course, feel free to reach out to us with any questions! Happy Gardening!