How to Improve Tomato Yield by Leaf Removal


Few things signal the arrival of summer like the taste of a freshly grown tomato straight from the garden. Although these plants produce plenty of fruit with minimal assistance, certain measures increase the abundance of the harvest. Pruning away leaves from tomato plants often results in healthier specimens that yield large amounts of produce.

Step 1

Purchase heavily branched tomato plants to plant in your garden. Look for ones with plenty of stems and leaves. Don't worry about choosing plants with blossoms; tomato plants in their blossoming state can suffer irreparable damage during transplantation. Cut away any broken or dead leaves from your plants as soon as you bring them home.

Step 2

Remove the bottom leaves from your tomato plants. Use sharp garden scissors to cleanly snip off the leaves growing along the bottom 8 to 12 inches of the main stem on each plant. This allows room for healthy air to circulate near the base of your tomato plants. Avoid cutting branches containing small blossoms. These blossoms signal areas of subsequent fruit production on your tomato plants.

Step 3

Pinch off leafy sections growing from the sides of your tomato plants' center stems. Look for these side shoots in the area of the joint between the stem and a leaf branch. These shoots contain growing tips that mimic the main stem, growing branches and fruit. Use your fingers to pinch these sections off the main plant.

Step 4

Check your tomato plants frequently for the appearance of yellowed leaves. Remove these leaves from the plants as soon as you notice them. Avoid removing more than one-third of the entire foliage of a single plant during a pruning session.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid using plant foods indicated for use on foliage plants. These types of plant foods encourage leaf growth, while stunting fruit formation.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden scissors


  • Growing Tomatoes: A Guide to Pruning Tomato Plants
  • University of Minnesota: Septoria Leaf Spot of Tomato
  • Grow Tomato Sauce: Pruning Tomatoes
Keywords: tomato plants, garden tomato, growing tomatoes

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.