How to Prune a Tomato Tree


There are two types of tomato plants: indeterminate and determinate. Determinate plants are compact and bushy, growing to 4 feet tall. Indeterminate plants are also known as vining tomatoes; they can grow to 10 feet tall. There is a simple way to prune both types to keep the plants' sprawling growth under control and encourage fruit production.

Step 1

Wipe your pruning scissors with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol to sanitize them.

Step 2

Trim off any dead or broken branches.

Step 3

Pinch the tips of the branches throughout the growing season to encourage the plants to grow bushy and full. Every time you pinch a branch, only trim off the last set of two leaves.

Step 4

Trim back branches that are not blooming, as well as branches that are crowding one another. Don't trim too much; some foliage is necessary to shade developing fruit from the sun, wind and rain.

Step 5

Grow your tomato plant on a trellis; it will be easier to prune and may grow faster. Growing the plant vertically also makes it easier to locate and harvest the crop.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Pruning scissors
  • Trellis (optional)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cloth


  • Pruning Tomato Plants
  • Caring for Tomatoes
  • Trimming Tomato Trees
Keywords: caring for tomatoes, pruning tomato plants, trimming tomato trees

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.