How Do You Prune Tomato Plants?

Prune tomato plants by removing the suckers, thinning the branches, pruning the top of the plant and pruning the roots. You need pruning shears, a knife and pruning scissors.

  1. Remove the suckers

    Look for the suckers, which are located between the stem and branches of the plant. Pinch off these suckers using your fingers or a pair of pruning scissors. These suckers can cause a tomato plant to outgrow its space, and removing them encourages growth in the remaining branches.

  2. Thin the branches

    Thin the branches of the plant to improve air flow and ventilation around the remaining limbs. This not only helps to prevent disease, but it also enables sunlight to reach and ripen the fruit.

  3. Prune the top of the plant

    Toward the end of the season, prune the top of the plant. Pinch or cut off the top of the main stem to keep the plant to a manageable size. This also enables the plant to focus its energy on fruit production and fruit ripening.

  4. Prune the roots

    Use a knife to cut down 8 inches into the soil to form an arc around the plant, placing it between 1 and 2 inches away from the main stem. This encourages the tomatoes to ripen more quickly.