Garden Update – May 26 – Tomato Pruning

Hi all. Time for another update on the garden. Today I’ve learned a bit about pruning my tomato plants and have done the deed. It was a rather scary experience to chop away so much of the plants, but it seems like this is the way to go.

A pruned tomato plant

So, the objective is to have your plant be a single “vine” rather than turning into a big bushy nightmare. This facilitates a number of objectives. First, it opens up the plant and allows it to get sunshine throughout, on all the leaves. Second, if you plant your tomatoes densely spaced, it opens them up and allows them to get airflow. Both of these points are vital to the plants health. it allows the leaves to stay dry, wet leaves get mold, which can lead to blight. Last but not least, it allows your plant to focus all it’s root derived resources to a single vine rather than having each vine leaching their share of the honeypot.

How do you do this? Tomatoes develop “suckers”. These are growths that head out on their own to start a new branch of the vine. We don’t want this to happen, so we prune them. To identify a sucker, look for a place where the main stem and the leaf branch have an offshoot coming out of the Y at about a 45° angle. Take a look:

A tomato sucker

Simply snip these off as you find them, as close to their origin as you can get without damaging the branch and main vine. Additionally, you want to trim off all the branches for the first 6″-8″ of the plant so leaves don’t touch the soil. Again, this creates air space underneath the plant and it prevents soil born organisms from corrupting your plant.

That’s really all there is to the process. Watch the video below and you can see what my plants look like after pruned. Hope you enjoy and this helps you on your gardening journey!

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