how far up the tomato plant do i prune - Knowledgebase Question

clifton, NJ
Question by kennethmay
June 2, 1999
When I prune my tomato plants how far up the plant should I go?
Do you prune only the 3 or 4th sucker on the plant or should I continue to the end of the growing season then clip the top off? It gets a little crazy after the 4th sucker appears. The plant seems to grow the sucker as another main shoot.

Also I had to plant 2 tomatoes in one 5 gallon pail. What is the best way to grow both tomatoes at once -- stake or not to stake?

Answer from NGA
June 2, 1999


Staking and pruning make the harvesting process easier, although they are not strictly necessary. Essentially, you will remove all suckers except the first one so that you have a two branched vine. Additional suckers should be removed when they reach about six inches in length, and the tip should be pinched out when the vines are as tall as you want them.

You may find that two tomatoes in one pot is one too many -- each growing plant takes a surprising amount of water and nutrients by the end of the season and a five gallon bucket is often barely large enough for a single vine let alone two. You might try staking one and allowing the other to sprawl, that way it will shade the bucket and perhaps help cut down a bit on water loss that way.

Enjoy your tomatoes!

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