Tomato – Pruning

Q: Can you cut off the top of tomato plants when they get too tall? I had some Better Boys that were twelve feet high !

A: It’s good practice to prune tomato vines before they get too tall. Remember that there are two types of tomato plants: determinate tomatoes grow to a pre-determined size and produce tomatoes all at once; indeterminate tomatoes like ‘Better Boy’ grow continuously and can become unmanageably tall. The plant label will usually say which growth habit a tomato has. The time to start pruning is when the tomato is twelve to twenty-four inches tall. Use your thumbnail to pinch the growing tip out of the main vine. This single pinch will usually result in a plant six feet tall with multiple stems. I also usually pinch the tip out of suckers (the leafy stems between main stem and main branches) to keep the plant bushy while providing protection to the fruit from the sun.

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