How to Prune Tomatoes for Bigger Fruit

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Encourage large tomatoes with proper pruning techniques.
Encourage large tomatoes with proper pruning techniques.

Giant and juicy tomatoes, the goal of many tomato growers, can be yours with proper growing techniques. One of the most effective ways to encourage large tomatoes on your tomato plants involves careful pruning. When you prune tomato plants, you force the plants to direct their energy inward to make larger fruits. Prune tomatoes throughout the summer for bigger fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Bucket
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Instructions

    • 1

      Trim off all stems below the first cluster of tomato blossoms as soon as the tomato plant begins blossoming in early summer. Use the pruning shears to trim away these stems flush with the main stem and discard them in the bucket. Trimming these stems will allow only one or two stems producing fruit on each plant for the largest fruits.

    • 2

      Check tomato plants once each week for suckers. Suckers are new tomato stems that grow from the intersection between the main stem and the side stems of the tomato plant. If you do not remove these suckers when they are tiny, they will grow into large stems, diverting growing energy away from fruit production and into foliage production.

    • 3

      Pinch suckers off with your thumb and forefinger flush with the stems to remove them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Indeterminate tomato varieties require more pruning than determinate varieties. Indeterminate tomato varieties continue to grow and get larger until cold or disease halts them. Determinate tomato varieties have a predetermined size. They will not continue growing and producing once they reach this size.

  • Do not prune tomato plants while they are wet -- you risk spreading or introducing disease if the plants are wet.

  • Do not trim off suckers longer than 4 inches in length because you risk creating a large wound in the tomato plant where disease could begin.

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References

  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

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