Prune all suckers?

kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)June 22, 2012

I know that the standard advice is to pinch off all suckers that form in the crotches of the main branches. However, as I was checking out my tomato plants yesterday I noticed a plant that had tomatoes on a branch and tomatoes on a substantial sized sucker next to it. Now I'm wondering if I should continue to pinch them all off, or whether I should observe for a while before obliterating all suckers.

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

The only reason to prune is lack of space (I can say that because I was brought up to prune to a single stem).

As you've discovered, fruit will grow just as happily on a sucker as on the main stem. More branches = more fruit. And more branches = more leaves to keep the fruit from being sunburned.

On this forum, people who prune all suckers are part of a small minority. (I'm not counting the market garden folks who grow in greenhouses or high tunnels and use a support system which requires a limited number of branches.)

My advice about further pruning this season would depend on how much room you have. Leave as many stems as will fit in the space. See how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 4:32PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I know that the standard advice is to pinch off all suckers that form in the crotches of the main branches.

Sorry but no, that is not the "standard advice". That is merely an opinion, an option, and it needs to be considered nothing more than that. It costs you fruit production, stresses the plants, decreases the plants ability to photosynthesize energy needed, and increases sun scald on the fruit. As already said above, whether you do it or not all depends on the type of support system you use and the amount of space you have. Even then it is not required for any reason and only minimal pruning may be needed.

The majority of tomato growers do NOT prune, much less remove what you are calling suckers but are really fruit bearing lateral branches.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 5:17PM
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From my experience don't prune. I have always had better production out of my plants when I just let them go.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 6:06PM
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this is the first year I decided to let them grow without pruning and I have WAY more fruit than in years past

I am converted

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 7:23PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Thanks everyone. It just goes to show how you can read a lot of posts elsewhere and not get a representative sample. You've convinced me...I'm happy to not prune!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 7:41PM
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