Tomato plants are in ground and getting bigger and bushier by the day.   Flowers have appeared and we are sooooo anticipating the first tomato of the season!  Mmmmm, mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

Many garden sources say one should pinch (prune) tomatoes suckers (the growth between main stems and the leaf) for a better tomato crop.

Cornell University says pinching or pruning tomato plants is not necessary: 

The late Dr. Phillip Minges of Cornell: “Tomato yields per plant may be lowered by pruning. Removing the leaves or shoots does not conserve food for the crop, it tends to reduce the total food supply…use training methods that require little pruning.”


Truth, myth or big ol’ waste of time?   I am all for less work in the garden, so inquiring minds want to know: how many of you remove suckers and how many just let the plants be? 

Care to weigh in?


  1. Rob Johnson says:

    I never prune my tomatoes. I feed them fish emulsion fertilizer twice a month and spray epsom salt water on them a week after I fertilize them. My beefsteaks grow up to 10′ tall and produce so many tomatoes.

  2. Bridget says:

    I have never ever pruned my tomatoes. And because of that, I am still harvesting in Southeastern Pennsylvania through mid-December. I never understood the reasons for pruning certain things. If you are doing something with permaculture, sometimes pruning is necessary so that one plant is not overtaking another. But if a person has no issues in that area, then I say let Mother Earth’s plants do what they do! Gaia is the expert in this field, so I just usually let her do what she’s going to need to do! 😀 Much love to you guys!

  3. Bonnie says:

    I have pruned some and left some unpruned over the years. I think it depends on the space you have available and the trellis/support that the plants have. If you let the plants go with no pruning they can get too tall and/or too heavy for the supports that you have given them. You don’t want the tomatoes to be on the ground, or the plants to break over from the weight of the tomatoes as they grow. I usually prune off the new flowers on my tomatoes towards the end of the season so the plant can put all of its energy into filling out and ripening the last of its tomatoes before it freezes.

  4. Martha says:

    I live in SW Alabama where soil-borne diseases are rampant. This year, I planted early and pruned all the bottom branches to keep them from touching the ground, even though I have mulched them all heavily. So far, so good.

  5. Kerry says:

    I’ve never pruned suckers so I can’t compare yields. A fellow gardener swears by pruning. This year we are trying both methods in the community garden where I have my plot. 2 rows will be pruned and 2 will not. Not a huge test, not enough replication but a fun project none the less.

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