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How to Prune Cherry Tomato Plants

By Amma Marfo ; Updated September 21, 2017
Pruning cherry tomatoes will increase production.
cherry tomatoes image by Curtis Sorrentino from Fotolia.com

Cherry tomatoes are some of the smallest tomatoes grown and typically get used to add bite-sized flavor to salads or are pickled when green. While you can grow your own cherry tomato plants at home in your garden or indoors in a container, you can improve your chances of having a productive plant with proper pruning. Pruning cherry tomato plants is relatively easy and doing so will increase production.

Place a tomato cage or stake next to your seedlings as soon after planting as possible to provide vertical support for the seedling as it grows. Growing cherry tomatoes vertically will make pruning easier and will help prevent fungal infections that can splash up from the soil during watering or rain.

Clip off the branches from the main stem that grow along the bottom 10 inches of growth once the tomato plant reaches 3 feet tall. This will encourage the plant to grow a stronger stem.

Look for shoots, called suckers, to form in the space between the main stem of your plant and the branches. Pinch off with your fingernails or cut with herb scissors any of these suckers at their base that grow along the main stem below the first set of flowers on the plant and discard.

Train the growing stem using plant ties as needed to hold it and maintain vertical growth. When the top of the cherry tomato reaches the top of the cage or stake, pinch or cut off the end of the main stem just after a pair of leaves to stop it from getting any taller and to divert the plant energy to fruit production.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Tomato seedling
  • Tomato cage or garden stake
  • Herb scissors
  • Plant ties

Tips

  • Anytime you are going to clip branches or suckers, be sure to work on a dry plant on a dry day so excess moisture doesn't enter the wound area and spread disease.
  • If you know your plant to be an indeterminate variety of tomato, meaning it consistently produces fruit over the season rather than forming one crop all at once, then you can safely remove all suckers along the entire length of the main stem.