Pruning Tomato Plants

I'm not sure about our hardiness zone, but I keep reading here and there about a way to prune a tomato plant to help it produce twice as many fruit, something to do with only three leaves, or three branches. Also, I was wondering about whether or not this would work with a bell pepper plant?


Hardiness Zone: 7b

Holly from Spiro, OK

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July 28, 20080 found this helpful

Check out this site. If you click on the drawing of the tomato plant on the side, it will link you to an actual picture. Very helpful. HTH

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April 9, 20100 found this helpful

I doubt if the hardiness zone matters. However, Yes, there is a way to prune tomato and pepper plants. Here is what you do; look at the joint form where the main stem(s) and branches meet. If you see new growth at this point, pinch it out. If you allow it to grow, it will, after a long time, develop into a branch that will eventually produce tomatoes. However, this branch is "sucker growth". The sucker growth steals nutrients from the plant that should go to the development of the tomatoes and peppers you want. It takes a lot longer for the fruit on the sucker growth to mature, it is not worth leaving on the plant.


Remove it. Do the same with the pepper plants.

In addition, when you purchase tomato plants, read the label - tomato plants are either "determinant" or "indeterminate". Determinant means that the whole plant grows to a certain size and then stops getting bigger and uses the energy to develop and ripen tomatoes. Indeterminate means that the vegetative growth continues; the plant continues to grow in size, branches, stems, etc., and produces tomatoes. If you have purchased an indeterminate plant, you can control its size by simply pruning or cutting off the tips of the growing stems, or completely removing some of the stems. Hope this helps.

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Home and Garden Gardening PruningJuly 26, 2008
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