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How to Prune Tomato Plants

Learning to prune tomato plants is important to ensure your tomatoes will grow in your garden the right way with the best results. Just follow these tips.


  • Step 1: Identify main stem Identify the main stem of the tomato plant in your garden, which can become more difficult with larger plants. Follow the stem up from the soil.
  • Step 2: Identify the first leader Identify the first leader stem that comes out of your main stem. It will usually be the largest branch splitting from the top of the main stem.
  • TIP: If you have trouble finding the leader, look for the largest branch that is near the top of the plant.
  • Step 3: Identify first flower cluster Find the first flower cluster by looking on the first leader or near the first leader. This flower cluster will become a focal point.
  • Step 4: Know a sucker Know what a sucker is by finding the small side shoots that stick out from the crotch between the stem and a branch. These are what you'll be removing.
  • Step 5: Identify the second leader Find the second leader branch by choosing the first sucker below the first flower cluster. These two branches will become your main growing points.
  • Step 6: Pull off the suckers Pull off all the other suckers that are below the second leader. You can use your fingers to pinch and pull the suckers off.
  • TIP: If you don't want to use your fingers, use small pruning shears, but make sure they are sharp and precise.
  • Step 7: Repeat Repeat the process until you've harvested all the fruit from the plant by the end of the season. It's important not to over prune because the plant needs the leaves to survive.
  • FACT: There are thousands of tomato varieties, but they are categorized as cherry, plum, or slicing tomatoes.

You Will Need

  • Tomato Plant
  • Small pruning shears (optional)

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