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How to Cut Tomato Leaves to Produce More Fruit

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How to Cut Tomato Leaves to Produce More Fruit

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Overview

Selective pruning of tomato plants throughout the growing season will force growing energy toward producing a larger quantity of fruit. This maintenance step also increase air circulation that results in a lower incidence of disease problems in tomato plants. Prune determinate varieties of tomatoes to strengthen branch growth as they fruit develops for harvest during a short period. Prune indeterminate tomato varieties to prevent branch overgrowth that decreases fruit production.

Determinate Varieties

Step 1

Prune all blossom leaves that appear on the tomato plant before it reaches maturity. Removing blossoms forces the tomato plant energy into growing strong, healthy branches instead of early fruit. This will result in larger fruit production.

Step 2

Remove sucker leaves that grow below the first blossom cluster. Suckers grow in the joints, or crotch, of main branches. Pinch to cut off the sucker off with your fingers as soon as it appears. The suckers turn into branches and create a heavily branched plant with less fruit.

Step 3

Cut or pinch off leaf tips that continue to grow as the end of the growing season is nearing an end. Cutting the leaf tips will force the tomato into ripening the fruit that remains on the plant instead of producing branch growth. This will increase the harvest quantity.

Indeterminate Tomatoes

Step 1

Cut all blossom leaves off immature plants shorter than 18 inches. This will force the plant to produce strong, healthy branches and improve the plans' ability for fruit production.

Step 2

Remove sucker leaves that grow below the first flower cluster on the plant, similar to removing sucker leaves from determinate varieties of tomatoes.

Step 3

Prune the tomato plant by cutting the fruit producing branches growing close to the first flower cluster. An indeterminate tomato plant grows best with four or fewer main stems.

Step 4

Remove the top of the tomato plant 30 days before the expected first fall frost. Cut off the growing tips to force the tomato plant to spend its energy into ripening the fruit that remains for an increase in harvest quantity.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning clipper

References

  • Fine Gardening: Pruning Tomatoes
  • Cornell University: Plant Doctors
  • Mississippi State University: Staking and Training Tomatoes
Keywords: cut tomato plants, producemore tomatoes, prune cut tomatoes

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.