Learn the why, when, and how of pruning tomato plants from Farmers Coop. Is there anything better than a fresh tomato? No. Not that I can think of, anyway. You’ve planted the seedlings; you’ve watered and cared for them diligently. Now it’s time to make the most of your tomato plants by doing a little pruning.
Why should you prune?
- Pruning your plants helps to stimulate early maturity for quicker fruit. So, start early and prune often for bigger, better tomatoes. You will have a smaller harvest with pruning, but the fruit you get will be higher quality.
- Pruning removes diseased leaves and limbs, allowing the healthy plant to thrive. You don’t want energy being spent on dead or dying limbs. Get rid of them so your healthy fruits survive.
- Removing shoots is another reason why you should prune. For best results, prune when the shoots are about 2” long.
When should you prune?
- Pruning should be done as needed. It’s best to do it every couple of days to keep your plant from getting overgrown.
- Tomato plants should grow up, not out. Get yourself a cage or trellis, keep the bottom of your plant pruned and tidy, training your plant to grow up its support system.
How to prune?
- The preferred method is by hand. Simply bend the limbs back and forth until they snap.
- If you have to use a tool, make sure it’s sharp enough to leave a clean cut.
- You want your cuts to be small to leave less room for disease to get in the plant.
For more gardening tips, check out Seed & Sow: An Agricultural Lifestyle Magazine.