The video below is all about pruning or pinching out tomato plants, in particular pinching out the side shoots of tomato plants.
If you want to know how to prune tomato plants, this is basically what you need to know.
In the video:
- I explain what tomato plant side shoots are
- I explain how cordon tomato plants grow and why you need to prune or pinch out the side shoots to ensure that your tomatoes will ripen and be of the best quality
- I show where you can locate the side shoots on the tomato plant
- I demonstrate how to pinch out and prune the tomato plant’s side shoots
- And I explain how you need to remain vigilant because the plants will keep sending out side shoots unless you stop it.
Transcript: How to pinch out tomato plants
This is a short video about pinching out tomatoes.
When I first started growing tomatoes, I read gardening books and watched gardening programmes and they always used to talk about pinching out tomatoes.
But it was never really clear to me what that meant.
So here is a simple demonstration and explanation for those people who are new to tomato growing and for whom pinching out tomatoes might still be something of a mystery.
Although, perhaps it was just me that didn’t get it.
Anyway, the bottom line is pinching out tomato plants is just another way of describing how to prune tomato plants to get the best fruit from you plant.
So, this applies specifically to cordon tomatoes, which are tomatoes that grow long and tall and will continue to grow from the growing point at the top of the stem.
As long as you let them, they will just keep growing. And that’s really the essence of what this is all about.
These kinds of tomatoes will continue to put on growth all through the growing season, which is good because it means you get big plants and potentially more tomatoes.
But, because for most people in most places in the world, there’s a limit to the growing season, there are only so many tomatoes that are going to mature and ripen during the course of the season.
So what you need to do is to some extent limit the amount of growth that these cordon tomatoes put on.
And the way that you do that, once you’ve got, four to 6 trusses of tomatoes developing on the plant, is to stop the growing point. The growing point is the absolute top of the tomato plant where it is continuing to grow from.
You can just literally cut the top of the stem off, and that would stop the tomato plant from growing at that point.
It won’t then grow any bigger and that allows the tomato to put all the energy that it draws up from the soil into maturing the existing fruits.
Pinching out tomato plants
The other point – and this is where we come back to pinching out tomato side shoots – is that tomatoes not only want to grow upwards like this one, but they also want to put on shoots coming out from the leaf axils – the point between the leaves and the stem.
So those shoots – the side shoots – would then develop into another whole stem, with a growing point from which more fruit trusses could develop. And these cordon tomatoes will try to do that in each of the leaf axils.
These are the shoots that you want to pinch out.
Because if you let them grow on, then they will again continue to take energy from what you’re really trying to achieve, which is a reasonably limited number of good fruit trusses that can develop and give you your perfect tomatoes.
[Indicates side- shoot] So this is the point. It’s these. These are the things you need to pinch out.
These are the side shoots, and pinching out is simple.
They will easily break off.
And you can see where I’ve done it previously.
Here you can see [indicates mark on stem] when I went on holiday and the side-shoot was allowed to develop for quite some time, so it became quite big.
But I could still cut that off and allow the tomato plant to develop along this line to this growing point at the top.
So that is the principal.
And the interesting thing about these about tomatoes is that they’ll somehow find a way to keep putting out these side shoots.
There’s one down here quite near the bottom of the plant that I think I probably may have pinched that one out before. But it’s grown another side shoot and it’s getting quite long.
So out it comes. I’ll take that one out again.
So that leaves you with one clear line of growth up your plant. You may have a sort of cut off, a change of direction point like I’ve got here, but it’s still one clear line going up to the top.
Even at the top there as a side shoot developing near the growing point. And technically, you could choose to leave that side shoot and take out the current growing and the plant would grow from the [side- shoot].
But I won’t because this this main growing point has already developed a flower truss, and there’s another one developing. So, we’ll break this little one off there.
So there you: are pinching out tomatoes.
Pinch out your tomato plant side shoots to develop a single line of growth to ensure that you’ve got all the energy going into the fruit production, which is what you want.
What you might need for growing tomatoes
- 【Small Tomato Cages】Set of 4 sturdy plant support cages and 1 pack 66ft garden twist tie, The Support sticks height 18 inches, inner diameter of 3 rings is 5.5 inch / 6.3 inch / 7.1 inch. Great for seedlings & starter plants. Note: mini tomato cages is Not suitable for large plants, please check the size before purchasing.
- 【Quality Material】This support sticks are made of durable steel with rust-resistant plastic coating, rust-proof and durable, high quality material will not be brittle and fade in the sun, with sharpened points on one side easy to insert into soil, durable and reusable.
- 【Multifunction Plant Support Cages】The tomato stakes designed for plants-support flowers and leaves growing, protect plants against strong wind, prevent plants from falling over or sprawling out, keep them upright, provide a healthy growing environment for your plants.
- 【Adjustable Design】With movable hooks, 3 hoops can be adjusted up and down left and right, the position of hoops and stakes is adjustable, sizes of 3 hoops are different, conform to practical growth principle, provide better support. Stackable for better storage and reuse.
- 【Widely Use】This plant cage is designed specifically for vertical climbing, continuous support throughout plant’s growth. Great for small or medium size plants, like small tomato plants, cherry tomato, peony, rose, etc. It a good gardening helper for you.
- DURABLE AND RUST-RESISTANT: Our premium plant stakes are made of durable steel with a rust-resistant plastic coating, making them rust-proof and durable enough to withstand bad weather. These plant cages are perfect for small plants or as mini tomato cages for the garden. They are also reusable for long-term use, making them a great investment for your gardening needs.
- VERSATILE PLANT SUPPORT: Our plant support cages can prop up plants to grow uprightly and healthily, prevent plants from falling over or sprawling out, and keep them upright, elegant, and space-saving. These plant cages are the perfect plant support for any type of plant, whether it’s a tomato, a flower, or a vegetable.
- EASY TO USE: Our plant cages are easy to use – just open the plant support stakes and insert them into the soil using the sharp point. The package also includes a roll of garden twist tie (20m/66ft) to help you fix your plants on the stakes. The stackable design also makes them easy to store and reuse.
- ADJUSTABLE RINGS: These plant cages come with movable hooks and three adjustable rings that can move up and down, left and right, providing better support for your plants. The smooth and green appearance of these plant supports matches most plants, making them a beautiful addition to your garden. It is suggested to set them up when the plants are young.
- PACKAGE INCLUDED: Each package includes 4 packs of plant cages that are 18 inches high, with three ring diameters of 5.5 inches, 6.2 inches, and 7 inches. Please note that these plant cages are not suitable for larger plants, so it’s best to check the size before purchasing to ensure they meet your needs.
- Plant need Support: This Sturdy Plant Trellis Tomato Cage will give your climbing Plants and Vines Plenty of Support,avoid crowd and allocate the room scientifically ,make them getting more growing sunshine and fresh air
- Easy Install :The Cage Stand Sticks has sharpen end for easy insert into ground. 3 Round Circle can adjust the height ,so they will support your plant well as they grow.
- Upgraded no-slipping Cages: Our Stake’s Surface is dull polish by new technology, and the upgraded Connector fasten the Stakes and 3 Round Circle more firmly than other similar products in the market.Our Allicco Plant Cage will give your plant stable support ,avoid any boring and embrass of slipping down when supporting.
- Wide usage：Any Climbing Plant that with Stem and vines will need Support.These Garden Cage is great idea for Pot Plant, Flowers, Tomato, Pepers,etc. And the shape of the plant cage is a beautiful way to showcase your flowers Plants’ stem and vines.
- Packge include 3 sturdy Plant Cage with 12 Plant support Clips (useful to clipping and direct your plant stems to the Cage) .These will perfect support your plant and make them growm upright,happily and healthy.
- Plant Cages for Small Plants: Set of 2pcs Small Plant Cages, 17.7” high, 5.48”/6.18”/6.89” inner diameter, great for small or medium size plants, like small tomato plants, cherry tomato, pepper, herbs, basils, hydrangea, peony, rose, flower, seedlings, young tree etc. Also great trellis support for climbing plants. Note: Only fit for small plants, PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THE MEASUREMENT!!!
- Versatile Plant Supports: Can well prop up plants to grow uprightly and healthily; protect plants against strong wind, heavy rain, or their own heavy bloom; prevent plants from falling over and sprawling out, keep them upright and elegant, add aesthetic appeal.
- Premium Garden Supports: These plant stakes are made of durable steel with rust-resistant plastic coating, 9 steel clasps attach 3 hoops to 3 stakes, weather-resistant, won’t embrittle and fade in the sun; not pliable, sturdy, stand firmly; reusable and long-lasting, serve you for a long time.
- 3 Adjustable Rings: All steel clasps are movable and the position of hoops and stakes is adjustable, help satisfy specific support need of plants. Sizes of 3 hoops are different, conform to practical growth principle, provide better support. Stackable, easy to store and ensure safer arrival.
- Green Color & Sharp Bottom End: The plant supporters have graceful smooth finish and natural green appearance, help blend into plants naturally without seeming weird. And the sharp bottom end helps push the stakes into soil more easily.
- GREAT FOR SUPPORTING PLANTS: This plant support cage can well prop up plants to grow uprightly and healthily, prevent plants from falling over or sprawling out, keep them upright and elegant, add aesthetic appeal to your home!
- USER-FRIENDLY: Easy as pie to put to work, just pop open the loops, all steel clasps are movable and the position of hoops is ajustable. Sizes of 3 hoops are different, conform to practical growth principle, provide better surpport. Collapsible for better storage and reuse.
- VERSATILE PLANT CAGE: This plant cage is designed specifically for vertical climbing, plenty of open areas for easy pruning and picking, continuous support throughout plant’s growth. Perfect for heirloom tomato plants, peppers, pole beans, cucumbers, grapes, kiwi, peace lily, jade plant and monstera.
- PREMIUM MATERIAL: Inside each stake is durable steel core. Outside stake is covered with a heavy-duty plastic coating. The clasps are also made of steel, which is better than those plastic ones.
- SIZE & PACKAGE: The plant trellis reaches up to 24 inches, the inner diameter is 5.48”/6.18”/6.89”, good size for seedlings & starter plants. Package includes: 4 x plant support cages, 4 x self watering spikes, 20 x plant support clips and one roll twist ties.
Last update on 2023-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- For more nutritious and tasty vegetables
- Optimum levels of primary plant nutrients
- Contains no GMOs, chicken manure or sewage sludge
- Feeds for several months
- Made with 100% organic and natural ingredients
- ORGANIC PLANT FOOD: This liquid fertilizer for tomatoes & vegetables provides nutrients to ensure superior results and is safe to use around kids and pets
- EASY: Simply add ½ cap of Tomato! plant food liquid per quart of water and water your plants. Thoroughly drench the soil of the plant. For best results use every 2-4 weeks
- CONTAINS: Essential plant nutrients to help all tomatoes and vegetables thrive. See label for all ingredients
- FAST RESULTS: Espoma Organic Tomato will help you grow vigorous and productive plants in a container or in the garden
- FOR ORGANIC GARDENING: Tomato! is approved for organic gardening; It is a registered Organic Input Material meaning it meets all requirements for organic production
- Organic granular fertilizer; Fast acting fertilizer for vegetables and tomatoes for a more abundant harvest
- OMRI listed for organic gardening by USDA; Certified organic means no synthetic chemicals
- Contains Jobe Biozome; Extremely aggressive proprietary microorganism archaea that aggressively breaks down material for faster results
- Jobe’s Biozome improves soil conditions; Helps your garden resist disease, insects, drought and other unfavorable conditions within a growing season
- Easy pour bag; Fertilizer analysis: (2-5-3) 1.5 pound resealable bag, (2-5-3) 4 pound bag, (2-5-3) 16 pound bag
- Contains natural ingredients to feed microbes in the soil
- Specially formulated with micronutrients to help plants grow strong and produce more fruits and vegetables versus unfed plants
- Feeds up to 3 months
- Calcium helps form stronger cell walls, producing better quality and longer-lasting fruits and vegetables. Plus, it helps prevent disorders in edible crops commonly associated with calcium deficiency.
- For use in ground and in containers
- CONCENTRATED LIQUID FERTILIZER – Add to water for the most effective and accurate nutrient delivery system to your tomatoes plants
- Encourages rapid root generation which eliminates transplant shock when used in a transplanting solution as a fertilizer for tomato plants
- IDEAL FERTILIZER – EZ-gro 15-20-28 is the ideal blend of tomato food for encouraging healthy plant and a strong root system
- ENHANCED MICRONUTRIENTS – Supplies the nutrients need most by tomatoes and other fruiting vine vegetables. It produce vibrant healthy leaves, strong vines and abundant fruit
- Easy to Use, Simply add 1 ounce per gallon of water when you water
Last update on 2023-09-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What you might need for growing tomatoes – UK Buyers
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Martin Cole has been an avid gardener for more than 20 years and loves to talk and write about gardening. In 2006 he was a finalist in the BBC Gardener of the Year competition. He is a member of the National dahlia Society.
He previously lived in London and Sydney, Australia, where he took a diploma course in Horticultural studies and is now based in North Berwick in Scotland. He founded GardeningStepbyStep.com in 2012. The website is aimed at everybody who has been bitten by the gardening bug and wants to know more.
Gardening Step by Step has been cited by Thompson and Morgan, the UK’s largest mail order plant retailer, as a website that publishes expert gardening content.
Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.