Tomato Plant Pruning 101: The Quick Way To Do It

Tomatoes are a love-them-or-hate-them kind of plant. If you’re one of those people who fall into the “love” category, then you probably know that there’s more to growing tomatoes than just planting them and waiting for ripe fruit. In fact, if you want your tomatoes to have the best possible flavor and yield, it helps to follow some basic pruning techniques. With proper pruning, you can improve the health and structure of your tomato plants as well as increase productivity by encouraging new growth and limiting the height of your plants so they don’t produce secondary stems called suckers at the expense of growing fruit. This article will give you an overview of everything you need to know about pruning tomato plants – from choosing which varieties work best for your space and soil type to what tools you need and how often you should be doing it.

What Is Pruning?

Pruning is the process of removing certain branches or leaves from plants to help them grow more productively and decrease health risks. Pruning is often performed as a preventative measure to keep plants healthy, but it can also be used to encourage a specific growth pattern. For example, pruning top-heavy tomato plants can help to prevent them from toppling over during a heavy rainstorm or high-wind event. Tomato plants can be pruned several times throughout their growing season to accomplish different tasks. Early on, you can prune to prevent your plants from becoming too large and toppling over, or you can prune to create a more productive plant and discourage the growth of suckers that might otherwise divert energy away from producing tomatoes. During the fruiting season, you can prune again to ensure that your plants are growing in a way that maximizes yield. Pruning at this stage can include removing any unwanted or diseased branches as well as snipping off any flower buds that form. This will help keep your tomato plants healthy and encourage them to focus on producing fruit instead of flowers.

The Right Tools For The Job

There are several different tools that can be used to pruning your indeterminate tomatoes. As a general rule, you’ll want to select a tool that makes it easy to remove unwanted leaves or branches with a single swipe. This way, you don’t risk damaging the rest of the plant as you’re removing the unwanted growth. Here are some of the most common pruning tools: – Hand clippers and loppers – These are the most basic, classic pruning tools and are perfect for smaller jobs. They’re usually spring-loaded, meaning that you can squeeze the handles to create pressure and then let go to open the blades, which makes it quick and easy to snip off branches. – Scissors – Scissors are great for smaller pruning jobs around the house – they’re perfect for clipping those stray leaves that pop up in between cracks in your sidewalk and patio stones. – Bow saw – A bow saw is a type of saw used in gardening to cut through thick limbs and vines. They’re very handy for larger pruning jobs and can be used on a variety of plants, not just tomatoes. – Pruning shears – Shears are similar to hand clippers and loppers, except they’re designed to cut through thicker branches. They’re a great option for larger pruning jobs that would be difficult with hand clippers.

How Often Should You Prune?

The best time to prune your tomato plants is when they’re still young and small. Ideally, you want to prune and train your tomato plants while they’re still in their infancy, before they become top-heavy and start to fall over. If your plants are young when you first get them, then you’ll want to prune them at least once a week to prevent them from growing too large and falling to the ground. If your plants are somewhat established and already growing tall, then you can prune them once every two to three weeks to help keep them healthy and productive.

Cut Back To Produce New Shoots

When you prune a tomato plant, you have the option of either cutting back to a lateral branch or just removing leaves. When you cut back to a lateral branch, you’re encouraging the plant to create new growth from that spot. This is great for creating new, productive vines that can help you maximize your tomato yield. If you simply cut off leaves, the plant will use its energy to repair itself instead of creating new growth. You can also encourage the production of new shoots by simply removing the growing tips of your tomato plants. This will encourage the plant to divert energy away from growing flowers and towards creating new, productive vines.

How To Produce New Shoots By Removing Leaves And Stems

As we’ve already discussed, cutting back to a lateral branch will encourage the plant to create new shoots. Doing so will also create a new node that can be used to grow more tomatoes. Because each node produces a single flower, nodes located towards the top of the plant will likely be male flowers – or flowers that aren’t capable of producing fruit. If you have a lot of male flowers on your plants, you can remove them before they have a chance to create pollen and cause issues for your tomatoes. If the nodes near the bottom of your plant are male, you can leave them be and simply let them pollinate your female tomatoes. If the nodes near the top of your plant are female and are growing into flowers, you can cut them back to the stem once they’re about 2 inches long. This will create new nodes on the stem that can be used to grow more tomatoes.


There’s no denying that tomatoes are a delicious addition to any home garden. And while growing tomatoes can seem intimidating at first, proper pruning techniques can make the process a lot easier. By pruning your tomato plants regularly, you can improve their health and productivity, as well as increase the amount of tomatoes you get from your harvest. Plus, by pruning your tomato plants young, you can prevent them from becoming top-heavy and falling over before they’ve had a chance to produce fruit.

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