How to Prune Your Tomato Plants Like an Expert

How to Prune Your Tomato Plants Like an Expert

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If you answered yes to any of these questions then “pruning indeterminate tomatoes” should be on your garden task list this year.

Plants being attacked by tomato diseases is one of the biggest struggles I hear from fellow gardeners during the summer. Pruning your tomato plants thins out the foliage to introduce more air flow and sunlight, which can help with disease issues.

As the season progresses, tomato plants often turn into an impenetrable jungle which can swallow up small children, family pets, and trusty garden tools. I haven’t seen my sister in three weeks, ever since I sent her out to pick some tomatoes for a dinner salad…

harvesting tomatoes after pruning the plants

This jungle can contain lots of tomatoes hidden within its tangle, many of which never see the sunlight and therefore won’t ripen in a timely manner. If you’ve had trouble with tomatoes that take forever to ripen to a juicy red, they might not be getting enough sunlight. Pruning will help with that.

And let’s be honest, it’s much more pleasant to harvest tomatoes from a plant that’s neat and tidy, not one that’s sprawling and climbing all over the garden.

When you think about the incredible amount of growth indeterminate tomatoes put on in just one season it’s easy to see that they’re putting a lot of energy into growing more and more leaves and suckers. They just don’t stop!

As the tomato harvesters, we’re happy for them to put on that green growth to a certain extent, but it does seem a bit excessive at some point. We’d rather them turn their attention to actual tomato production instead of showing off how big and bushy they can get.

There is some thought that pruning your tomato plants will encourage them to produce more tomatoes overall by redirecting that energy into fruit production.

The number one reason I prune my tomato plants is that it keeps the plants more compact, which allows me to plant them 18 inches apart (in double rows). I fit a lot of plants in one garden bed, which saves me space for planting vegetables I love even more than tomatoes (hard to believe, I know!).

If you’ve never had the pleasure of pruning indeterminate tomatoes, you should definitely try it this year. And if you’ve thought about it, but the whole concept confuses you, I’m here to walk you through it step by step, complete with a video I filmed in my garden.

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