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How to Cut Tomato Leaves to Produce More Fruit

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017
Large tomato fruit harvest
Tomato image by Christian Stoltze from Fotolia.com

Selective pruning of tomato plants throughout the growing season will force growing energy toward producing a larger quantity of fruit. This maintenance step also increase air circulation that results in a lower incidence of disease problems in tomato plants. Prune determinate varieties of tomatoes to strengthen branch growth as they fruit develops for harvest during a short period. Prune indeterminate tomato varieties to prevent branch overgrowth that decreases fruit production.

Determinate Varieties

Prune all blossom leaves that appear on the tomato plant before it reaches maturity. Removing blossoms forces the tomato plant energy into growing strong, healthy branches instead of early fruit. This will result in larger fruit production.

Remove sucker leaves that grow below the first blossom cluster. Suckers grow in the joints, or crotch, of main branches. Pinch to cut off the sucker off with your fingers as soon as it appears. The suckers turn into branches and create a heavily branched plant with less fruit.

Cut or pinch off leaf tips that continue to grow as the end of the growing season is nearing an end. Cutting the leaf tips will force the tomato into ripening the fruit that remains on the plant instead of producing branch growth. This will increase the harvest quantity.

Indeterminate Tomatoes

Cut all blossom leaves off immature plants shorter than 18 inches. This will force the plant to produce strong, healthy branches and improve the plans' ability for fruit production.

Remove sucker leaves that grow below the first flower cluster on the plant, similar to removing sucker leaves from determinate varieties of tomatoes.

Prune the tomato plant by cutting the fruit producing branches growing close to the first flower cluster. An indeterminate tomato plant grows best with four or fewer main stems.

Remove the top of the tomato plant 30 days before the expected first fall frost. Cut off the growing tips to force the tomato plant to spend its energy into ripening the fruit that remains for an increase in harvest quantity.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning clipper

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.