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
- Plant Cages for Small Plants: Set of 2, 17.7” high, inner diameter of 3 rings is 5.48”, 6.18”, 6.89” respectively. Great for small or medium size plants, like small tomato plants, cherry tomato, pepper, herbs, basils, hydrangea, peony, rose, etc. Also great trellis support for climbing plants. Note: Not fit for large plants, PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THE MEASUREMENT!!!
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- Package included: 4packs plant cages,17.7inch high, 3 rings diameter is 5.5 inch,6.2 inch and 7 inch. A 20m/65.6ft garden twist tie with build-in cutter. Note:Not fit for large plants, please check the size before purchasing.
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Last update on 2022-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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- fertilizer Analysis: (6-18-6) 18 Spikes in waterproof resealable package
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- NUTRIENT-RICH FEED FOR DELICIOUS VEGGIES: Bloom City’s nutrient-dense tomato feed contains high levels of calcium designed to maximize the yield of your homegrown tomatoes and other greenhouse crops. The inclusion of magnesium iron and sulfur helps feed and nourish above and below soil helping you grow vigorous and productive plants.
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Last update on 2022-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What you might need for growing tomatoes – UK Buyers
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 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.