How to Prune Tomato Plants to Grow More Tomatoes

Overview

Growing tomatoes can be a labor of love, because they will only grow productively and feed you year-round with plump juicy tomatoes when pruned regularly and correctly. They are an ideal addition to your landscape or vegetable garden, and are best grown on a trellis for the easiest pruning and fruit harvesting. Also, tomatoes produce more fruit when growing vertically. There are two types of tomato plants: indeterminate and determinate. There is a simple way to prune both types.

Step 1

Sanitize your pruning supplies, like the shears and scissors, with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. Wipe the blades in order to get rid of any harmful bacteria that may be transferred to your tomato plant during pruning.

Step 2

Cut back any dead or broken tomato branches. Use pruning shears for thicker branches and pruning scissors for smaller branches.

Step 3

Pinch the tips of the branches throughout the growing season to encourage the plants to grow more tomatoes. This helps the tomato plant to grow full, bushy and produce large tomatoes. Each time you pinch a branch, make sure to only trim off the last set of two leaves.

Step 4

Prune non-productive branches that you have noticed aren't flowering, and also trim back branches that are intertwining or that are too crowded to allow more sunlight or air circulation within the tomato plant.

Step 5

Add fertilizer in order to increase the yield of tomatoes on your plant. Use a fertilizer like 5-5-5 or 5-10-10 when you plant the tomato or when it is very young, working a small amount into the soil around the plant. The next time you will want to fertilize is when the tomato plant begins to flower. Use a fertilizer with a higher rate of potassium than when you planted the tomatoes. Make sure to follow the directions on the type of fertilizer you are using.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Pruning scissors
  • Trellis, if desired
  • Rubbing alcohol and cloth

References

  • Promoting Tomato Plant Growth
  • Caring for Tomato Plants
  • Pruning Tomatoes

Who Can Help

  • Fertilizing Tomatoes
Keywords: encouraging tomato growth, pruning tomato plants, caring for tomatoes

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.