If you’re a big fan of big, juicy, exceptional tomatoes,then knowing how to prune them properly will be an asset to you. There are Determinate and Indeterminate varieties and each one requires its own pruning method. The Determinate variety of tomato produces its fruits all at once about the same time.

If you observe them keenly, you will see the leaves stop being produced and your green tomatoes begin ripening. These Determinate type tomatoes are perfect for sandwiches. They include the Beef Steak, Celebrity,and Roma tomatoes. The indeterminate tomatoes are used most commonly in salads.These are the Cherry, Early Girl, and Big Boy types. These are the kind of varieties that produce fruits that will ripen more progressively and not all at the same time.

Techniques of Pruning Tomatoes

Both of these varieties will require the use of differentpruning techniques to maximize your crop. Always use your fingers when pruningtomatoes. If you prune regularly enough, about once each week, then it shouldbe fairly easy to just ‘pinch’ of the stems. This method leaves a fast-healingwound that is less susceptible to infection.

Determinate Pruning

To prune your Determinate tomatoes look for ‘suckers.’ These are the stems that have started to grow between the main stem and the branch.Pinch off these branches ‘simple pruning. Doing this on a weekly basis and consistently prevents having to deal with hard stems that are difficult to remove.

Look for any early blossoms and if you find them and yourplant isn’t ready to handle fruits yet, then remove them. The whole purpose ofpruning is preventing your tomato plants from throwing its energy into bearingfruits before it can take care of it. Removing these suckers encourages the plantto grow bigger and get stronger and not throw all that energy into the suckers.

The moment you come to an end of a growing season you needto ‘top’ your plants. That means pinching off the tops of your main stemreferred to as the “terminal”. When you top your plant is will allowit to finish up the ripening process on the green tomatoes still hangingwithout growing further up the main stem. Neglecting to top your plants meansmore stems and leaves will be produced. This leads to wimpy green fruit thatnobody enjoys.

Indeterminate Pruning

Take off all blossoms until your tomato plant grows to 18 inches tall. The general types will produce several vines. Help your plants to focus their energy on producing tomatoes by eliminating all of these vines except for a couple.
Pinch the suckers off same as with the determinate varieties. If you’re planning on leaving two to three vines, then let the stems grow slightly above your first fruit cluster.

The Missouri Pruning method is one where rather than takingoff the whole sucker; you just take off the part that sits above your first twoleaves and is closest to the main stem. This method lets those two leaves tostay on there, and this helps the plant to harvest additional energy from thesun through those leaves. New suckers grow very fast so that this method willincrease your pruning chores overall.

Mistakes in pruning tomatoes

Getting rid of the excess leaves and non-fruit bearing branches on your plants you don’t need to hold back. When it comes to removing the non-fruit bearing branches, which in most plants are every second branch,break them off right at the base.

Failure to observe cutting points. You must remove theleaf-only bearing branches, but be careful how you do. If you snap one off atany point along it, the plant must give a huge amount of energy to try and healit. The key is to break it off right at the base, against the stem.

Failure to take pruning seriously enough and stopping nearthe end as the plant matures. This is a huge mistake. You should be persistentwith your pruning right up until the harvest time. This makes all thedifference in the world to the size and juiciness of your batch. I assure you,every bit of extra effort you make pruning will be paid off tenfold in the end.


Tomato pruning is a significant and often overlooked part of growing tomatoes. Proper pruning can make all the difference in the world to your crop of tomatoes at the end of summer. Make sure you’re not one of the people who neglect this side to tomato plant growing.