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How to Remove Leaves From Tomato Plants

Trim extra leaves off your tomato plants for healthy growth and delicious tomatoes. Extra leaves on your tomato plants create a host of problems. Failing to trim the plants is a major cause of plant disease and pest problems. Removing extra leaves increases the plant’s air access, reduces access for pests and increases sugar production in the tomato plants. This leads to juicer and sweeter tomatoes at harvest time.

Trim the extra tomato plant leaves, once the tomato plant has several branches grown in and prior to flowering. Inspect the plant thoroughly and remove stems that are yellowish in color or stunted.

Trim browning, shriveling, drying or otherwise damaged leaves first by pinching them tightly with your hands. Give a quick tug and snap off these leaves.

Look for any large, broad leaves. They will usually be the only leaf on a stem. If they are close to any set of smaller leaves, trim them. Hold the main branch of the plant carefully. Place the shears at the base of the leaf stem with flat of the sheer blades almost flat against the connecting branch. Squeeze them firmly and quickly to cut fully through the stem, making a clean trim.

Move to the bottom 1/5 area of the plant. Remove between 1/4 and 1/2 of the leaves from this section of your tomato plants with the pruning shears. If the plant is especially bright green or the branches are particularly thick, trim toward the high end of these ranges to assure proper fruit production.

Water the base of the tomato plants after pruning and removing excess leaves to encourage new growth.


All the tomato plant stems should be firm and rich green.

The smaller cluster of leaves will produce tomatoes for you to harvest when the plants mature.


Trimming and pruning tomatoes should not be done during the heat of the day.

Wait a couple of days to add additional fertilizer to the tomato plants after trimming and pruning.

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