Tomato Growing Secrets: Pruning Tomatoes

How to prune and train tomatoes up a string from and award winning garden author Doug Green. There are several important things to understand about pruning tomatoes, the first is that they way a significant amount when fully loaded and the tomatoes are ripening. Secondly, when pruning them up a string it is important to remove the suckers and only allow a single stem to grow up each string. I used to grow tomatoes commercially and this system works perfectly for both training the tomato all season and cleaning it up quickly in the fall. Beginners sometimes ask what you attached the tomato to the string with? The answer is nothing. If you bend the tomato around the string a complete revolution every 6 to 8 inches, you will find the tomato will stick quite nicely all by itself by friction. You can see this in the video. So feeding and watering tomato are critical steps to success but so is the way you train and prune it. The nice thing about a tomato is it grows so quickly that if you do manage to take out the wrong bits from the wrong piece of the wrong direction, it will regrow and give you a second or third chance. I prune and thin my tomatoes in this way because pruning to a single stem, will give me more tomatoes per square-foot than if I let them flop on the ground. Pruning tomatoes is easy once you get the hang of it. You can see other videos at http

25 Responses to “Tomato Growing Secrets: Pruning Tomatoes”

  • G0MPgomp says:

    Put those suckers in watr, and they wil lset root, and be new´╗┐ ready tomato plants! ­čśÇ

  • headgardener2u says:

    absolutely they will – but too late for any kind of harvest in a USDA zone´╗┐ 4 ;-(

  • G0MPgomp says:

    I live in Norway, In zone H4 .. I keep tomatoes all year round.
    Do not get much tomatoes when it is snow outside. But one really get a nice and early start. I would save´╗┐ those suckers that for that.. :p

  • wonnep says:

    I had a couple of big tomatoes that still´╗┐ in green color but other flowers didn’t produce small tomato. Will pruning the leaves and / or pick the green big tomatoes help the flowers become tomatoes ? Thanks

  • headgardener2u says:

    Leave all existing green´╗┐ tomatoes alone. And no -pruning leaves will not help with pollination of flowers. Simply have patience and grow them properly with lots of water and compost

  • mbrosset318 says:

    I think hes´╗┐ in the KKK

  • dzuck99 says:

    i live´╗┐ in fl when would be a good time to start growing tomatoes??

  • GradyWhite2007 says:

    Right now!´╗┐ In Florida we have two growing seasons. Spring and Fall. Plant around the end of February…by July it’s over…then plant again around mid Sept. Dont forget to enrich your soil.

  • pinkladydownunder says:

    thank u for good´╗┐ video….

  • dayspeace says:

    thank you for sharing´╗┐ this. this is really helpful.

  • ratdavid9 says:

    I’ve heard of a method where you allow one “sucker” to grow. The one right after the first´╗┐ fruit set. Any thoughts on that?

  • headgardener2u says:

    allowing the second shoot/sucker to grow is a greenhouse technique where you take 2 leaders and train them onto two separate strings. Normally, you take the first sucker produced no matter where on the stalk it comes from. But if you’re not´╗┐ training them up strings, there’s not advantage as it only clogs up the air circulation.

  • Tcharptyler says:

    Whats wrong with it´╗┐ overgrowing

  • headgardener2u says:

    you have a choice – maximize´╗┐ per square foot of garden space (by training or pruning) or maximize the yield per plant (by allowing plant to run all over and take up lots of space) So this is about maximizing per square foot of garden space and pruning. You can’t do both at the same time. Well, you can but it would be a mess… :-)

  • pamtime22 says:

    I have also heard that pruning the suckers out will allow more nutrients to go to the fruits (tomatos), instead of the suckers. Is this´╗┐ correct?

  • CearaQC says:

    I generally prune the varieties that keep producing and not the varieties´╗┐ that are pre-determinant

  • headgardener2u says:

    you’re right – the indeterminate (keep on growing and harvest over a longer time) are best trained and pruned while the determinant (bushy´╗┐ varieties that harvest mostl all at once) are best trained to a cage or left to sprawl

  • headgardener2u says:

    that’s one´╗┐ way of looking at it – if the plant isn’t growing more foliage, there’s more nutrients available for other things such as producing fruit.

  • leapingfroglady says:

    I once took those suckers and put them in soil. They grew another tomatoe plant. Just a tip.´╗┐

  • headgardener2u says:

    yeah, no problem rooting them at all – the issue in short season climates is that by the time you root them, and then grow them to fruiting stage, then you’re looking frost right in the eye and the harvests aren’t worth the space in the garden.´╗┐ And if you try to take them indoors, you’re looking at low light levels so they don’t fruit well. Fun project though :-)

  • DesertDigger1 says:

    Little rough´╗┐ dont you think?..I think I would have used snipers as to not strip the “bark” on the stem.

  • headgardener2u says:

    – I know the plants will be fine with the way I handle them (all commercial guys do it by hand, clippers are too slow). And when you do it by clippers, you can’t get all the branch because you can’t get close enough. These tomatoes were left to overgrow to let me show´╗┐ folks in a dramatic way what they should look like. So – bottom line, if you’re comfortable doing it with clippers – keep on using them simply understand on a commercial basis, we use our hands.

  • paulpellicci says:

    I never heard of pruning tomatoes, we used to have more tomatoes, delicious´╗┐ ones, and I never heard of pruning. I do however think the tomatoes would be better tasting, it that is possible.

  • almepanes says:

    (TRANSLATE THIS IN SPANISH) Esa es una variedad indeterminada que requiere poda de los brotes axilares, por lo que no deber├şas dejarlos crecer tanto para no tener problemas de hongos´╗┐ en los cortes que haces seleccionando la rama madre.

  • jim6509 says:

    wow im dug´╗┐ green!as well how weird is that!!

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