The Q&A Archives: Pinching Tomato Plants

Question: I would like to know if it is necessary to pinch the flowers or tops off my tomatoe plants in order for the tomatoes to grow larger. This will be the first harvest and the tomatoes seem small while the plant itself is growing like a weed.

Answer: Sounds like you're growing an indeterminate type tomato plant - one that will grow and produce flowers and fruits all season long. (Determinate type plants grow to a specific height, develop flowers and fruit and then stop producing.) As long as the weather is warm, your plant will continue to grow and flower. It's not necessary to pinch the tops of the plants, but sometimes gardeners pinch out the growing tips to force the plant to ripen the existing fruit - especially if it's late in the season and they're concerned about frost. Since you live in sunny California, your tomato plant can grow and fruit right up through December. I'd just leave it alone and allow it to flower at will.

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