How Do You Trim Tomato Plants?


Quick Answer

Prune tomato plants by sterilizing pruning shears, selecting the limbs to remove and snipping the extra foliage. While the plants fruit without pruning, the process helps to prevent disease and produce earlier, larger fruit. Do not trim determinate tomatoes that produce all their fruit at once.

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Full Answer

  1. Sterilize pruning shears or scissors

    Sterilize the tools you are using on tomato plants by wiping the blades with denatured alcohol. Repeat this process after trimming each plant before moving to the next to prevent the spread of diseases between plants. Allow the blades to air dry to complete the sterilization process.

  2. Choose the limbs to remove

    Select the succor limbs from the plant. These limbs grow in the V space between the larger limbs and the stem of the plant. While they eventually form branches and some fruit, they tend to form more foliage than fruit, and in the process, they rob energy from the plant that helps produce larger tomatoes.

  3. Remove the extra limbs

    For very small succors that are less than 2 inches, pinch the growth off between the thumb and forefinger. For larger succors, use the sterilized shears to cut the growth away from the stems. Continue the process until you remove all the succors from the plant.

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