Gardening Tips

how to prune tomatoes

how to prune tomatoes

The tomato plant, or tomato plant, is one of the most popular crops among horticultural enthusiasts practically all over the world. This plant has its origin in South and Central America, but currently its fruit has found a place of great value in a large part of world cuisines.

This plant requires some care that we must attend to if we want to learn how to grow tomatoes and, thus, obtain good quality fruits. One of the most important in some types of tomato is pruning. If you want to know more about how to prune tomatoes and when to do itkeep reading us in this EcologíaVerde guide.

When to prune tomatoes

It is necessary to distinguish the different types of pruning that are applied to the tomato plant to know when to carry out each one. so to know when do you prune tomatoespay attention:

  • The trimming or pruning of shoots, in which so-called suckers are removed from tomatoes, takes place once or twice a week during the warmer months. As soon as spring arrives, an indeterminate tomato plant will begin to produce a large number of these shoots, which we must remove before they grow too large.
  • The leafless or leafless maintenance is done on a regular basis, removing the leaves as they wither or become damaged.
  • the breakout It should be done when we believe that the tomato plant will not have time to completely develop new fruits. That is, about a month and a half before the worst temperatures arrive in the warm months, or three months in the cold ones.

In any case, no pruning should ever be done with the plant damp or wet, as we could cause it to get sick. Knowing all this, now let’s see how to prune tomato plants correctly.

How To Prune Tomatoes - When To Prune Tomatoes

Types of tomato plants

The first and most important thing that we must know before starting to prune our tomato plant is to identify what type of plant we have. Depending on this, it will require different care. There are Two main types of tomatoes: determinate and indeterminate.

indeterminate tomato plants

Indeterminate tomato plants grow non-stop, so pruning suckers is very necessary if we want to collect tasty and good quality fruit. These tomato plants also need trellising and they produce tomatoes quite staggered throughout the entire season. Some indeterminate tomatoes are the ox heart, the black cherry or the lots of honey.

determinate tomato plants

Determinate tomatoes, on the other hand, are more bushy and compact. Once they reach maturity they stop growing, and they also produce all their fruits simultaneously, which requires a much faster harvest. These tomatoes are much less picky about pruning, as they don’t produce as many suckers. Some determined tomatoes are the marmande, the cherry gold nugget or the roma.

In addition, we recommend you to know +30 types of tomatoes. Once we have identified what type of tomato plant we have, we move on to pruning.

How to prune tomatoes - Types of tomato plants

How to prune tomato plants

doHow to prune tomatoes at home or in the garden? Whether the tomato plants you have are in your field or garden or if you have them in a pot at home, take note of these steps and guidelines for pruning tomato plants:


Indeterminate tomatoes need regular trimming when the growing season arrives. If not done, the plant produces suckers in a good part of the axils between the main stem and the secondary branches. If we let these shoots grow, they will develop to the same size as the branches from which they were born and, in turn, will give rise to new suckers on the tomatoes. This entire development process entails an enormous energy expenditure for the plant, which does not allow it to allocate sufficient resources to fruit production, which is why it would end up producing small tomatoes in small numbers.

Thus, weeding should be done once or twice a week, and we simply have to remove suckers from tomatoes by hand. If they have not developed too much, they will come out easily with a finger and nail pressure, without causing great damage to the plant. If they have grown too much, use some pruning shears properly sterilized.


As the tomato plant shows yellow or withered leaves, we must remove them to favor aeration and the use of nutrients. However, it is better not to remove large amounts of leaves or branches at once so as not to weaken the plant excessively.

Usually you have to remove the oldest leaves and close to the ground, in addition to those found on the fruit branches. The pruning of leaves on tomato plants must be done with sterilized scissors, although in some cases where they are very dry, they can be removed by hand.


When the plant will not have time to produce new generations of tomatoes, the apical shoot is pruned or upper part of the stem. In this way, the plant focuses its efforts on fattening the tomatoes it has available, instead of continuing to grow. It is done by leaving one or two branches above the highest flower cluster. In the following season, it should be repeated with the stem that has formed as the main one in its vertical development.

Summary of the basic steps for pruning tomatoes:

  1. If you are going to use pruning shears, sterilize them first.
  2. Observe the plant from a distance to detect the parts that you are going to prune according to the type of pruning that you are going to do. Thus, if you are going to do just a stripping, look at the withered or very old leaves, if you are going to trim the plant, look for the suckers and shoots that need to be pruned and if you see that it is not convenient for the plant to grow higher, observe well to the apical bud area.
  3. Proceed to remove with your hands or cut with scissors the necessary parts to make a good pruning of the tomato plant.
  4. Check the entire plant well, lifting some branches to make sure you’ve removed everything you need and you’re done. Remember to clean the scissors well again.
How to Prune Tomatoes - How to Prune Tomato Plants

Tips for pruning tomatoes

To finish, here we leave several tips on how to prune tomatoeswhether it is pruning cherry or large tomatoes or whether they are in pots, greenhouses or in the ground.

  • Always use sterilized tools when pruning any part of the tomato. Also, and especially if you smoke, wash your hands with soap and water before doing the manual weeding.
  • When the first flowers appear, prune the branches below them. In indeterminate tomatoes, clean directly, while in determinate ones you can wait for the leaves to turn yellow.
  • Most cherry tomatoes are determinate, so they don’t need extensive pruning. In addition, quantity is valued more than quality, so they are allowed to grow more.
  • In greenhouse tomatoes it is especially important to prune the lower branches so that they do not shade the soil and allow greater aeration of it.
  • The stems removed when weeding out tend to take root very easily, allowing a new tomato plant to be created in just 15 days.

Now that you know a lot more about pruning tomato plants, you may be interested in knowing more about tomato cultivation. To do this, we recommend these other Green Ecology guides on How to grow organic tomatoes and Tomato cultivation in a greenhouse.

If you want to read more articles similar to how to prune tomatoeswe recommend that you enter our category .

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