Tips on Pruning Tomato Plants
Do you need to pinch out new shoots on tomato plants?
To prune or not to prune tomato plants
Should you prune tomato plants and why?
Yes, you should. The reason you want to prune tomato plants is to get more and bigger fruits.
Tomato plants can sprout very quickly and deplete the developing fruits of valuable nutrients and water. If you don’t prune them, the plants will develop a lot of branches and leaves, but not so much fruit. So check your plants often and pinch out the new shoots. You can do it with your fingers if they are still small or you can use secateurs for the thicker ones not to damage the plant by pulling or shaking it.
How much to prune and how much to leave?
Different varieties of tomato plants require different pruning. Some can grow up to 7 feet in height (cordon varieties) if uncontrolled, but others don’t need a lot of intervention (bush varieties).
What to pinch out and what to leave?
Tomato Plant Trusses and Side Shoots – which to ponch out
What are tomato plant trusses?
Trusses grow out of the main vertical stem of the plant and will develop into flowers and fruits, so this is what you want to keep.
The number of trusses on each plant depends on the tomato variety, usually it can be between 5 and 7.
The more trusses you have the smaller the fruits will be, so if you want to grow larger tomatoes, limit the number of trusses.
Side Shoots on Tomato Plants
Side shoots grow between the leaf and the stem and you want to remove them while they are still small (about an inch).
Apart from those, you can remove some leaves, so the plant puts more energy into producing fruit. Which leaves to remove? Generally, remove the lower leaves and leave some of those growing higher and providing shade to the growing fruits.
How many branches should you grow on one plant?
It depents on the tomato variety and whether you prefer to have more smaller fruits or bigger but fewer tomatoes.