Growing Tomato Plants – Information About How to Prune Your Tomato Plants

If you love the taste of fresh tomatoes, there is nothing quite as wonderful as picking a fresh tomato right off your own vine and enjoying it right there in the garden. Growing your own tomatoes can be a wonderful and highly rewarding hobby, as well as a way to increase the health and vitality of your diet and your family. But before you can pick those great tomatoes you will need to take care of your tomato plants properly for the entire year. You will also need to learn the skills you need to prune your plants and keep them as healthy as possible.

As a gardener you naturally want your plants to grow healthy and strong, but when the plants grow too rapidly that rapid growth can cause its own problems. When the growth of the plants is too strong, it is important to prune them carefully in order to maintain their health and vigor.

By pruning the plants early gardeners can encourage the growth of the strong stems that will be needed to support the weight of all those large and juicy tomatoes. Without those strong and healthy stems the entire tomato plant could collapse under the weight of the fruit it produces. In order to prune the plants properly remove all of the leaves and suckers below the first cluster of flowers. Allow the second stem to arise just above the lowest cluster of flowers. This kind of pruning will encourage the new growth to be stronger and more resilient than the part that was pruned.

When pruning it is also important to make sure that each leaf on the plant has plenty of room, and that the leaves are well off the ground. This will help to reduce the spread of disease pest infestations. By properly pruning the plant and staking it correctly gardeners can make sure their plants stay healthy. When the tomato plant is properly pruned all of the leaves should be facing the sun. This will increase the amount of sunlight the plant takes in, and that will in turn increase the efficiency and health of the tomatoes.

No matter how you prune your tomato plants, it is important never to do the pruning when the leaves are wet. Pruning wet leaves, stems and foliage is an invitation to disease, so it is important to make sure the entire plant is perfectly dry before doing any pruning.

In order to prune your plants properly it is important to watch how they grow. As the plant grows it will develop side shoots, known to the gardening community as suckers, and if those suckers are allowed to develop they will grow their own stems, producing more flowers and more fruit. By pruning those new suckers as they grow gardeners can encourage the main stems to grow larger and sturdier, and this will enhance the health and vitality of the entire plant.

By keeping the tomatoes free from these suckers and side stems, gardeners can train their plants and make them stronger. Trimming the side stems that grow beneath the first cluster of fruit is one of the best ways to keep the plant healthy and strong. This pruning will encourage the stems to grow as strong as possible, ensuring that they will be able to support the fruit they grow. The fewer stems there are on the plant the stronger those stems will be and the more fruit the plant will produce.

The simplest way to deal with these suckers and remove them is to simply pinch them off completely. It is best to do this when the sucker is still very small. To remove the sucker simply grasp the base between your thumb and your index finger and bend it until it snaps off. The sucker should snap off easily, producing a small and manageable wound that will heal quickly. Gardeners should check the plants after they have been pruned to make sure the plant is healing properly. It is important to use only your fingers when snapping off the suckers—never use a knife or scissors, since this could damage the plants.

These suckers will grow quite quickly, especially during the hot summer months, so it is important for gardeners to keep an eye on their plants and prune them as need be. It is important to catch those suckers early, when they can easily be snapped off with just your fingers. Allowing the new growth to get too big will reduce the effectiveness of your pruning schedule, and it could cause the plants to become overgrown and unhealthy.

One Last Pruning

While it is important to prune your tomato plants regularly during the growing season, it is just as important to trim the plants one last time after the season has ended. A final pruning can pay big dividends after the growing season has ended. A plant that has been properly pruned before the end of the season will grow much more readily and produce much better fruit when the new growing season rolls around.

This last pruning of the season should begin about 30 days before the first expected frost. This last pruning consists of topping the plant. The fruit that has already set should be allowed to mature fully, but all growing tips should be removed. This will encourage all available sugar to go to the growing fruit and produce some wonderful and delicious tomatoes. So instead of picking those green and half ripe tomatoes and allowing them to ripen on the windowsill, instead let those fruits mature on the vine and pick them only when they are completely ripe and ready to go.

By taking the time to prune your tomato plants properly and give them the best opportunity for success. Tomato plants need some very specific care, and it is important for all gardeners to take those special needs into account.