What happens if a tomato plant is left unpruned?

Pruning your home tomatoes can lead to more enjoyable harvests, if done correctly. First, we must understand why tomatoes are pruned:

Reason 1: Ease of harvest

Reason number two: Proper ventilation and lighting for healthier plants.

You have already accomplished them if you have spaced your tomato plants in a manner that enables you to easily access the fruit, and there is no need to trim your tomatoes; merely trellis them to sustain the weight of your plentiful harvests to come.

But, if you’ve produced a bit of a jungle by planting your tomatoes in huge areas, it’s a good idea to conduct some trimming to avoid worrying about future harvests.

These illustrations depict the key components of a tomato plant. Today we’re only focusing on finding and pruning the suckers.

The goal is to limit the number of suckers (also known as leaders); fewer of them will result in less foliage. Suckers may be discovered at the plant’s node, or “armpit” – the place between a leaf and the main stem. (Do not mix suckers with fruiting branches located on the main stem; they contain visible blooms or fruit.) When left un-pruned, suckers can become main stems.​

Having too many main stems is what causes the “tomato-jungle” effect, leading to poor visibility of fruit and possible airflow issues. Always prune suckers at their root with a sharp, clean pair of pruners.

These are before and after photos of a baby tomato plant that we are training to have just two main stems. Having just two main stems and constantly reducing suckers where necessary allows us to clearly see our fruit as well as have adquate airflow and sunlight for nearby plants.

You might have one or more primary stems depending on how close your plants are together.

Related Questions

  • What happens if I don’t prune my tomato plants?

    2 If left unpruned, these suckers will eventually grow into full-sized branches, adding lots of foliage and, eventually, a few fruits. This will also result in a tomato plant that rapidly outgrows its garden area.

  • Will damaged tomato plants recover?

    Damage on Young Plant
    A large tomato plant can survive damage better than a young plant, but even a small plant can recover from a broken upper stalk. But, if the stalk or stem beneath the lowest branch is destroyed, the plant will die.

  • Should all tomato plants have side shoots removed?

    Pinch off the side shoots to increase your tomato production.
    It is critical to remove the side branches of cordon tomatoes since allowing them to develop will significantly lower your harvest. The plant will concentrate on producing a lot of growth instead of concentrating on producing fruit.

  • Do tomato plants come back every year?

    Indeed, it is a resounding yes. In their native tropical growing range, tomato plants are perennials that live for many years. In cold climates, however, they do not survive winter outdoors because they are not frost-tolerant. As a result, most gardeners plant tomatoes as annuals.

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