Tuesday, July 5, 2011

pruning tomatoes

this season we have been very intentional about pruning our tomato plants. we have never gardened in such a small space so pruning is essential. this way our tomato plants are growing up rather than out & taking up more space than needed.

in order to encourage growth upward instead of outward, cut the side branches from the stem up to 3-6 inches from the soil line.

when doing this, make sure not to damage the stem & use a sharp tool to make a clean cut.

another way to prune your plant is by removing the "suckers" located in the joint connecting the side branch from the stem. if the suckers are allowed to grow, this will lead to a more dense, bushier tomato plant.

happy pruning of your happy, healthy tomato plants!

another note: make sure to prune only healthy tomato plants. weak plants will feel the shock of pruning & might not do well to the changes. also, prune gradually, making sure not to remove several branches at a time.


  1. What perfect timing! We have a lot of tomato plants in a small space, and they are getting pretty big and bushy. I hadn't even realized you could prune tomato plants until I heard mention of it a few days ago, so this comes as a fun surprise :) Thanks as always you guys. You 2 have so much great know-how.

  2. excellent post natalie! i've been much more intentional about pinching off the suckers on all my tomato plants this year and (whether this is the reason or not) they all seem to be doing way better than in previous years! your garden is looking great!

  3. Thank you! This is my first year planting anything and my tomatoes are kind of puny. I currently have one tomato growing out of three plants. I did have a fourth tomato plant but I had to pull it yesterday because it shriveled up and died.

    I'm heading out now to get the surviving ones cleaned up now that I know hat to do.

    Any advise on how to pinch back herbs?,m

  4. sometimes I root the suckers. our growing season lasts into November and it's nice to have replacement tomatoes when the originals get sapped from the high heat of july and august. 9 months can be a long season for a single plant!

  5. love your blog - just found it through soulemama :) Great tip about pruning the tomato plants - mine surely need it and you've motivated me! Thank you :)

  6. what a great post nat! i spent many hours in high tunnels suckering and tying up tomatoes. i would have green hands and smell like a tomato when i was through but i really loved that task:)

  7. May I ask what exactly 'suckers' are?