What do you think about pruning tomato suckers?
Well, you may have different types of tomato varieties in your garden, such as:
Despite this, all tomatoes share the same growth habits.
Today, a popular debate question among the gardening community is:
To prune or not to prune?’’
To cut to the chase, gardening experts approve of tomato plants pruning. Their research shows that pruning a tomato plant is the best way to improve their yield.
Are you ready to have a blooming bunch of bright, red, and healthy tomatoes?
This informative guide will help you understand why you need to prune your tomato suckers and how to do it.
Why You Need to Prune Your Tomato Suckers
There’s nothing better than having total control of your garden yield. And, pruning is one way to ensure you achieve this goal.
But, pruning causes confusion among gardeners.
Now that you’re here, you can get a definite answer.
Pruning involves selectively removing some of the tomato plant growth to improve harvestable yields and prolong the harvest season.’’
Practical analysis of pruning tomato suckers shows that it has the following benefits:
- Improves harvest grounds
- Reduces tomato plant diseases
- Improves tomato size and quality
When you remove tomato suckers, this causes a new stem to grow. Then, the stem will compete for nutrients with the original plant.
So, when you don’t prune tomato plants, the number of fruits may increase but the tomatoes grow smaller.
You wouldn’t want tiny tomatoes.
As a result, many agricultural scientists highly recommend you prune your tomato plants.
Now you need to know how to prune like a pro.
How to Prune Your Tomato Plant and Suckers
While pruning of tomato suckers, you need to have the best pruning tools and a great technique.
This process is easy, therapeutic, and enjoyable to keep your tomato plant in top shape.
Know Your Pruning Tools
Before jumping into the process, you need to have the proper equipment to get the job done.
For one, a clean and rust-free pair of pruning shears should be your best friend. You will use it to remove the small sucker branches from the tomato plant.
There are 3 basic types of pruning shears that you can choose from. That is:
- Anvil Pruners
- Ratchet Pruners
- Bypass Pruners
They come in different blade designs too.
Yet, you don’t need to go trying all the pruning shears to find the best one.
To save you the trouble, we’ve tried and tested these shears and find that the bypass pruners are the best.
According to our excellent review, this hand pruner is amazing because:
- It’s affordable
- Has sharp and rust-resistant blades
- Easy and comfortable to use
Tip: If you do a lot of pruning or prune thick branches, I recommend purchasing a hand pruner that offers additional features such as ergonomic handles, a ratcheting mechanism, hold/lock & cut mechanism, or a rotating handle.
With that, it’s important to keep your pruning tools in great condition.
Do this by wiping them after each pruning session and storing them in a dry place to prevent rust.
Techniques for Pruning Tomato Suckers
When you have the right tools, you need to know how to use them to your advantage. This will make your gardening activities more fun.
There are 3 main methods you can use on your plants to prune tomato suckers.
Method #1: Pruning to the Strong Y Method
Tomato suckers grow above every leaf as the plant develops. The suckers limit the nutrients for your topping tomatoes. Thus, you need to limit their growth.
The Strong Y method is great to help you limit the number of suckers on your plant stem.
Follow these steps for the perfect results:
- Remove your leaves up to the first cluster plant.
- Prune the suckers below this cluster.
- Your stem should look Y-shaped as illustrated below.
To avoid removing the wrong leaves from your main stem, you need to hold your shears at the proper angle.
Tip: First bend the leaf upwards and then downwards. Listen for a soft ‘snap’ with each movement. If the leaves only bend and do not snap, use a sharp knife to cut them off close to the stem.
Method #2: Basket Weave/Florida Weave
This method is the best for determinate tomato varieties. It involves tying your tomato plant to stakes to help remove the suckers.
It’s best used to increase the airflow between your tomatoes and makes your plants grow neatly.
To take advantage of this method begin by:
- Putting up 5ft strong, wooden stakes at each end of your tomato plant rows. Remember to set them 6 inches deep for great balance.
- Support each tomato seedling after they develop their first leaf cluster.
- Tie the plants to the poles using twine, setting the twine 12 inches above the ground. As the plants grow, add another layer of twine to support it.
- Remove the tomato suckers above the leaf axils. This helps to increase the growth of healthy tomatoes.
And just like that, your tomatoes grow healthier!
Method #3: Overhead Trellis Method
This method helps your plant yields last longer, giving you high-quality tomatoes.
For this, you’ll need to first put up a twine structure for each plant. Remember to secure the twine tightly above the plant to keep it standing tall.
Various types of twine are available. Nylon is the most durable, natural fibers deteriorate as the weight of the crop increases. Bailing twine isn’t suitable. – Source
Now you’ll be able to observe all the tomatoes as they grow.
To prune, remove the lower suckers when they are less than 2 inches. Use one leader to keep track of any new tomato sucker that grows below the first cluster.
Now that you know the best techniques to prune a tomato sucker, you must prune them at the right time. This is best done when the suckers are still small during the growing season.
The best time to prune is early in the morning on a dry day. This allows the pruning wounds to heal and reducing the spread of tomato diseases.
Maintain a Beautiful and Strong Garden
Removing suckers from tomatoes has never been easier.
Are you excited to put your new pruning skills to the test?
Now that you’re here, have a look at these 3 extra special suckering tips for your plant:
- Pinch out suckers when they are thin
- Remove smaller suckers with fingers
- Observe 6-week maintenance for great plant growth
Yet, the pruning of tomato plants is just one of the many ways to get a beautiful garden.
The Gardening Channel has all the tips and tricks you need to make your gardening dreams come true.
Visit the site today to begin your wonderful new journey.
Photo from pxhere.com
wally strade says
Richard Cotter says
So much talk about pruning tomato plant ‘suckers’, great but not much of identifying the one to prune. In my case I have plants that are almost becoming too tall and am considering pinching out the top growth to slow them down.