A 6-Step Guide On How to Prune Indeterminate Tomatoes

This article is about how to prune indeterminate tomatoes and the benefits of pruning tomatoes plants. If you grow tomatoes in your garden, pruning them should be the first task on your to-do list this season! But why is that? Take a minute to read the following questions.

Do your tomatoes grow to be huge in size every year? Are your tomato plants susceptible to disease often? Do your tomatoes grow out of control?

If you have answered yes to at least one of these questions, then pruning is the best solution for you. However, if you are a beginner who is new to gardening, or you’ve never cultivated indeterminate tomatoes before, you might be a little unfamiliar with how to prune them properly. Lucky for you, this article explains the process in simple easy to follow steps.

Tomatoes Pruning is a garden practice that helps you maintain the health and well-being of your plants. In practice, you will be removing all the dead stems, flowers, leaves, and other parts of the plants affected by insects and pests. Regularly pruning your plants will help keep your plants in the best possible condition.

What Are Indeterminate Tomatoes?

Indeterminate tomatoes are known to generally grow taller than the other species, consequently, they also give you a lot more fruit till the first frost. Because of their growth rate, pruning becomes essential over time.

If you can’t tell the difference between indeterminate and determinate tomatoes, make sure to read our article on the topic, because you should only prune indeterminate tomatoes. Ensure to check the type before you start to chop!

Different Parts Of an Indeterminate Tomato Plant

As a beginner, it is quite natural to get excited to prune for the first time. While it is good to be curious to learn different techniques to maintain your garden, you should also remember to do it the right way.

And that’s why we have included a quick guide to help you understand the parts of a tomato plant. This way, you will not cut off the wrong parts and stick to the right process.

Identify The Main Stem

The first thing you need to do is find the main stem of the plant. To do this, stand in front of your tomato plant, and take a look at the soil. You will find the main stem growing through the ground, and this extends to the top of the plant.

As the name suggests, this is the main stem, and you should not cut this off.

Look For Clusters Of Fruit And Flower

The next step is where you find where the fruits and flowers are. The fruit is the small tomatoes that are already growing, and the flowers are the yellow blossoms.

Look Out For Leaves

When you look at the main stem, you will notice a lot of leaves growing from it. You need to identify the location of the leaf and where it is growing from on the main stem.

Identify The Sucker

The part that connects the leaf to the main stem is the sucker. It usually has its own set of leaves and flowers, and this is what you will be pruning off.

What Do You Need to Prune?

At first glance, pruning might not seem like the most important practice in gardening. However, it is still an essential one.

In order to get started with pruning your indeterminate tomatoes plant, you will need a few handy supplies. They are:

  • Small garden knife
  • A handy set of pruners
  • A trellis or a cage
  • Clips (to secure your plant in place)

How To Prune Indeterminate Tomatoes?

Now that you are aware of the parts of a tomato plant and you have your supplies in hand, it’s time to get into action.

However, before we start, keep in mind that this pruning process only applies to indeterminate tomatoes. If you want a smooth pruning session, make sure you follow this step-by-step process.

Step #1

To get started, first identify the flower or fruit that is the lowest on the plant. You will find that this flower/fruit is usually the one closest to the soil.

Step #2

Once you have identified this, grab hold of the cluster. It will prevent you from chopping it off accidentally. Next, find the sucker under this cluster.

Usually, this is the biggest sucker of the plant. A lot of the plant’s energy is sent to this part to help with the growth of the fruit. It should also not be cut off.

Step #3

The next step is to cut off all the other suckers on your plant except the lowest one.

The best way to do this is by using a small knife. The size of the leaves usually depends on the size of the plant. Using the knife, start cutting every sucker below and above the main one.

And don’t be afraid! You are not hurting your plant. You are merely just helping it to grow better.

Step #4

It is an optional step, and whether you want to do this or not lies with you.

You can also remove the leaves that are touching the soil. A lot of these are subject to pest infestation because they come in contact with the soil. If left unattended, this might even spread throughout the plant.

To avoid this from happening, you can cut off the lowest leaves that touch the ground.

Step #5

The fifth step involves installing a trellis or a cage for your plants. Plants exposed to the ground often cause a lot of problems for the owner. The main reason for this being plant infestation.

In order to avoid this, consider installing a trellis or a cage to protect your tomato plants. The tallest trellis or cage is best recommended for indeterminate plants. You can also hold your plant up by securing them with clips.

If you can’t afford one, you can also make your own trellis/cage, DIY style!

Step #6

Over the course of the next few weeks, consider pruning them whenever needed.

However, there is a fine line of difference between pruning them to perfection and cutting too much plant.

If you live in a hotter area, consider leaving a few suckers on top after the first two pruning sessions. These will act as a shade for your plant, especially on hot summer days.

Wrapping Up

Gardening might seem like a very easy task from the outside. But what most people don’t realize is the fact that it takes a lot of hard work. There are a lot of different techniques you need to master to get a healthy crop.

One of these techniques is pruning. While this may not be the most important technique of gardening, it is still very necessary. Pruning your indeterminate tomato plants will help ensure the proper health and growth of the plant.


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