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Last Update: 2009-02-04
Pruning tomatoes, though not required, will create stronger vines, which produce larger, fuller tomatoes during the growing season. Trim back a tomato plant in the winter with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening. View Video Transcript
Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment, we're going to talk about how to prune tomatoes. Well, tomato plants will grow and develop tomatoes whether you prune them or not. But by taking the time just to cut out one-third of all the side stems off of the main plant, you will find that your tomato plant will produce much fuller, larger tomatoes because it's not using all of its energy for the little side shoots. So you can prune them all summer long as they're growing, and the rule of thumb is don't prune more than one-third of the side branches out of the plant because if you prune too many, then you might shock the plant as well and it won't get enough photosynthesis from the leaves because there's no leaves left and it won't do as well. So by just going up the branch and every third stem chopping it out on each side, and maybe staggering it, too, so it's not evenly spaces so that the plant will look more full, you will find that your tomato will produce many more tomatoes than it would if you would have left it alone. And some of the side branches, if they start getting too long, by just trimming them back one-third, too, you will force the plant to stop growing at that point. Instead of using all of its energy to put spindles out, it will stop right there and it'll use its energy as long as there's flowers or some growth and leaves on that line, it will produce tomatoes. And that way, your plant won't be as lanky and it will grow right up to your tomato cage or right on a string, and it'll be much stronger and heartier and you'll have much better results on your tomatoes.