Tomatoes are one of the most common fruits grown in gardens everywhere. Tomato plants should be pruned carefully so that they remain healthy and produce larger fruit throughout the growing season. By pruning side shoots that grow, more nutrients will go into growing fruit instead of supporting the growth of new branches.
Tomato shoots are branches that grow off of the main tomato stem. They grow rapidly and if not pruned, they can cause a plant to become overgrown with branches. When tomato shoots are not pruned, fruit will be small and the plant will not yield a large harvest.
Determine Which Shoots to Prune
Once a tomato plant begins to flower, the shoots that arise beneath the flowering limbs should be removed. When these shoots are pruned, the fruit above will receive nutrients from the plant root system instead of the nutrients going to the shoots.
Provide Support to the Tomato Plant
A tomato is not really a plant, but a vine, according to the Tomato Gardening Guru. Tomato plants need support in order to grow healthy fruit so that the fruit does not end up on the ground where it will rot quickly. Tomatoes can be staked using tomato cages, bamboo poles and twist ties or sticks and string.
Prune By Hand
Use your hands to prune side shoots before they become bothersome by pinching the shoots off at the base. Be careful to avoid damaging the main stem while pruning as this may cause more problems than the shoot you are removing.
Plan Your Harvest
To grow fewer tomatoes that are large in size, prune side shoots often. If you want plants that produce smaller tomatoes, allow some shoots to grow without pruning them off. Plants with fewer stems to support will produce larger fruit and will not become a vine-ridden mess.