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Is this a sucker or is it just a regular branch?

Posted by simplyoranges none (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 29, 12 at 8:56

I have pulled some smaller suckers from my tomato plants already. I just wasn't sure if this was a sucker, because it is crotching out from such a small branch. I figured maybe it is just a regular branch itself. If it is a sucker, would you suggest cloning it? I only have 3 tomato plants, so I would like to have a couple more. What is the best way to get a sucker to start growing as quickly as possible.

Here a some pictures:

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is this a sucker or is it just a regular branch?

Here is your pic (although it needs to re-sized down quite a bit). They won't load the way you have them posted.

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Yes it is what is called a 'sucker' if that is an indeterminate variety plant. It looks too big to be rooted easily but it's possible if it is trimmed down substantially. Smaller ones are much easier. Lots of posts here on how to root cuttings.

But it is so low on the stem I'd leave it alone as I'd rather have the tomatoes it will produce. I guess it all depends on why you are removing them in the first place.


RE: Is this a sucker or is it just a regular branch?

Okay. Thank you. I've been removing them to try to focus all of the plants attention on vertical growth. I get quite a bit of wind where I am at and it is putting all of the plants attention toward girth and bushiness. Plus, the small ones (2-4") that I have removed have been planted so I will have some more plants. I guess I'd rather have larger tomatoes than a large abundance of tomatoes.

RE: Is this a sucker or is it just a regular branch?

Except for rare Y-forks, all tomato branches are suckers: they start between a leaf and the main stem, and they have a growing tip like the plant's main stem. If you remove every sucker on a tomato plant, you will have a single stem.

The side "branches" with leaves are actually leaves. Each "branch" is a single compound leaf. For instance, check out WinterSown's photos of leaves from different tomato varieties. Each photo shows a single leaf.

The side "branches" which bear flowers and fruit are also known as "trusses." Note that flower trusses almost never have leaves (a few varieties may have a leaf at the end of some of the clusters, and there are also rare varieties which have cluster that end in a growing point, but those are even more unusual).

So again, if you remove every sucker, you'll have a single stem with leaves and flower/fruit trusses.

RE: Is this a sucker or is it just a regular branch?

  • Posted by bets z6A ID (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 29, 12 at 14:18


You didn't say what variety of tomatoes you have. Do you know if they are determinate or indeterminate? To me those nodes between branches look pretty short, which means they could be determinate and should NOT be pruned. Also determinates will grow to a varietal height (in "optimal" growing conditions) and no amount of pruning will make them grow any taller.

Please let us know what variety you have.


Here is a link that might be useful: FAQ on Pruning Tomato Plants

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