Tomatoes--pinch them suckers or not? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Q&A, National Gardening, July 1988:

Q. Please settle the following bet. Friend #1 says that taking suckers off a tomato plant gives you larger tomatoes and that by the end of the season you'll have a greater total weight of tomatoes than from unpruned tomato plants. Friend #2 says that unpruned tomato plants will give smaller-sized tomatoes, but the total weight of fruit harvested for the season will be the same as from the pruned tomato plants. Who's correct?

A. Both your friends know their tomatoes, but need a little pruning of their details. Friend #1 is right in saying pruning tomato suckers will give you fewer but larger tomatoes. Friend #2 is also correct in saying that the unpruned tomato plant will produce more but smaller tomatoes. However, if two plants of the same variety are grown next to each other and receive the same care, the unpruned tomato plant will produce more total weight in tomatoes than the pruned plant.

-- Old Git (, April 23, 1999


Tomatoes. I love tomatoes.

Also a consideration is your length of season. Short season areas should grow early varieties, but also should prune suckers to make fruits grow faster. If you feel like gambling on a late fall, let some go unpruned and if you are right you'll end up with buckets of tomatoes.

Tip from zone 4

-- Jim the Window Washer (, April 23, 1999.

Thanks, haven't thought about this debate point for a while. I'm too lazy to prune, except some of the inner branches to increase ventilation. I like lots of leaves because it helps shade the developing tomatoes from sunscald. My plants grow very large and heavy (I grow indeterminate varieties), and keeping them from toppling over in late summer squalls can be a problem. Most recently, I have used homemade cages fashioned out of rebar. They just grow up through the rebar sections and don't care whether they have been pruned or not. (It is important to have a mesh size that allows you to reach through to extract the yummies. 6"x6" is good.)

-- Brooks (, April 23, 1999.

From the All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, try the following for companion planting for tomatoes

Basil to control tomato hornworms.

Grwo tomatoes, parsley, or basil with asparagus to help control asparagus beetles.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), April 23, 1999.


-- Andy (, April 23, 1999.

not what Andy?

-- (cannot-say@this.time), April 23, 1999.

I've made tomato cages out of chickenwire and common lath.

Set out 4 to 6 lath per cage, staple the chickenwire down on 'em, stand the flat sheet up, make a circle, tie the two end lath together. Free standing -- can be disassembled and stored rolled up tight.

-- Tom Carey (, April 23, 1999.

Hey Old Git! You're doing a great job feeding us good vegetarian information! That's the only way to keep us alive during Y2K! If you people eat all canned, boxed and bottled food, before long you're all going to be sickly!

To be sick during Y2K could have disastrous effects on your lifestyle! In fact, you may not stay alive for very long if you get sick during Y2K! You must eat raw fruits and vegetables if you want to stay healthy during Y2K!!

-- freddie (, April 23, 1999.

Andy was just answering the original question. :-)

-- Gayla Dunbar (, April 23, 1999.

If you prune them old matter suckers, put the trimmins in some water for about a week, and you will have more matter plants!

-- SCOTTY (, April 23, 1999.

I prune because I wrap my tomato vines around twine which hangs from wire strung from my greenhouse purlins. If you prune weekly, you can control growth and I think get earlier and larger fruit. This is important here in Siberia and for marketing. Pruning directs more energy IMO to fruiting.

-- anita (, April 23, 1999.

In SW Oklahoma, probably nobody prunes(except the "yankees" temporarily here at Ft. Sill) - because of the EXTREME sunscald on the tomatoes if you don't have PLENTY of leaves. Last year we had over 100 days of over 100 degrees in the summer - and no rain from april to the end of August. Everyone's praying for a better summer this year...the grazing pastures have not, by any means, recovered yet. I use 6 inch rebar for cages - just cut off the bottom wire and you have 6 inch spears to push into the ground for the cage. They can be used year after year.

-- jeanne (, April 23, 1999.

2 years ago we let our tomato plants sprawl all over (E Central Neb). We had LOADS of tomatoes... put down plastic over them during the first few frosts and still had tomatoes for over another month. (Even canned up the green ones!)Last year we pruned them back and had same size of tomatoes but LESS of them.. MUCH less... about a quarter of what we had the previous year. This year we are going to let them sprawl again - we learned our lesson well! My .02!

-- Terri (, April 24, 1999.

Terri, please try Long Keeper or Winter Reds this year. You probably won't find them as plants, but it's not too late to grow them from seed. These are the ones that store for a long time, so that the green ones you end up with at the end of the season can be stored in a cool room and will ripen slowly--the advertising says they keep up to six weeks but I've kept them longer than that.

-- Old Git (, April 24, 1999.

I ALWAYS pinch my suckers off and then plant them (tomatoes will root anywhere along the vine) water them often and then they take off. More gentetic clones for free. Can't beat that!

-- Johnny (, April 24, 1999.

Told my son-in-law to box his in. So he did. Had lots of tomatoes. Then about October, I got him to cover the 2x2's with plastic at night and during cold days. Had ripe tomatoes at Christmas - when he finally pulled the vines out. Nashville has a pretty mild climate, but my father used to do that in KY, too. Got to wish him (my father) happy birthday tomorrow - he is 83.

-- Paul Davis (, April 25, 1999.

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-- Old Git (, June 08, 1999.

Going Up!

-- && (&&@&&.&), June 13, 1999.

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