How to Prune Tomato Plants


Authored by Kate Beswick in Gardening
Published on 09-02-2009

Growing tomato plants and enjoying the fruit of your labor is one of the most rewarding things about keeping tomatoes in your garden. But you do need to make sure that your plants have enough space to grow properly to ensure full and healthy fruit. Keeping your tomatoes growing in close capacity to each other also makes sure that the plants won’t drag along the ground. This means that you’ll have even more tomatoes to enjoy! Proper pruning is essential to making sure that your tomato plants grow to the fullest and juiciest that they can. And even though pruning may sound intimidating, especially to new gardeners, it can be done in just a few easy steps.

One of the main reasons for pruning tomato plants is because it saves so much space in the garden! Because of this, you should start thinking about pruning once you notice that the plants are outgrowing the space you have given them. Before you begin make sure you grab a pair of clean and sharp shears. Using dull shears will actually weaken the plants. And if your shears are dirty, you could easily spread disease from one plant to another.

Once your plants are large enough to start outgrowing their space, you can also begin to pinch the leaves back. To do this, take off the top two leaves and the stem. This will encourage your plants to grow full and bushy. It will also help keep them from spreading and sprawling. It’s very important to remember to not take more than this from any stem when you are pinching the leaves back. Removing any more than that will only result in you cutting away precious tomato plant. Pinching the leaves back however can be done throughout the entire growing season.

Any stems that are not blooming can also be removed. Removing unyielding foliage will help to keep the rest of the plant thriving and healthy. Any stems or leaves that look as though they might be infested, diseased or dead should also be removed. This will also keep nutrients going to only the healthy areas of the plant. It will also ensure that any disease or infestation does not spread to the rest of the plant. It’s important to remember while you are cutting away foliage not to overdo it. Plants often need their leaves to keep them shaded from the sun. Tomato plants are known for being sun-lovers but they can get burnt from overexposure.

Pruning your tomato plants is one of the best things you can do for them and for yourself! Pruning keeps your plants healthy and strong. And because you’ll be taking such better care of your plants, you’ll have more of them to enjoy! Growing tomatoes that can hang on a vine is another great way to take care of storage issues. Plus, growing your tomatoes vertically can also be an easy solution to pruning. Because the tomatoes are already growing up, they will not sprawl around themselves. Also, non-blooming stems can simply be tucked out of sight or easily removed.


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