The Q&A Archives: When and how to prune tomatoe plants

Question: This is my first year to grow tomatoes, actually ANYTHING for that matter. My plant, a Better Boy variety, has exploded in growth. However the tomatoes that I am picking aren't really that big and they all have split their skin. I am guessing that I should prune some of the vines back so that only 1 or 2 main vines are producing. Right now I have probably 7 or 8 main vines some of which have grown so big/long that they are reaching the ground. Please help. Thanks!!

Answer: Jeff,

Summer tomatoes in the south are not easy. The plants do well in spring and will do well again in fall. During the heat they tend to abort blooms and if they set will make small fruit. The splitting is due to a rain or irrigation following a dry period.

I suggest leaving the vines to produce for fall or if you like some minor pruning is also okay. Another option is to take those long vines and bury the ends leaving a foot or so sticking up beyond the buried section. Keep the soil moist and they will root in a couple of weeks. Then you can cut them off from the "mother plants" and remove the mother plants leaving the newly rooted tips to grown and produce for fall.

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