Removing Suckers From the Tomatoes

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by Joe Mudd on June 9, 2010

in Tomatoes

The Problem With Tomato Plants

Tomato plants form what are called suckers. Suckers form at the junction of the main trunk of the tomato plant with the branches. If left alone tomato plant suckers will develop into full fledged branches. This will make a nice full bushy plant. But most experts tell you to remove the suckers.

The Problem With Suckers

Suckers turn into branches and set fruit just like the normal branches do. So what’s the problem?

Growing all that greenery takes nutrients and plant energy. Those nutrients could be going into making bigger tomatoes. Generally, if you leave the suckers you can expect to get more tomatoes, but they’ll be smaller. Most people like bigger fruit.

It’s really a matter of choice, you can have more smaller tomatoes or fewer but larger ones.

My dad has decided it’s no longer worth the trouble for him.

Last year I didn’t do anything to my tomato plants but pick the fruit. We were disappointed in the size of the crop.

So this year I’m removing the suckers from my tomatoes.

This is a baby tomato sucker.

It's best to remove the suckers from your tomato plants when they are still small like this.

Removing Suckers from Your Tomatoes

The sucker in the picture at the top of this post is getting pretty big. It’s still easy to remove. Just snap them off.

It’s best to avoid being a procrastinator like me and get them while they are still small. Like the one in the picture above.

You can add them to your compost pile.

I’ve also heard of potting the suckers. They will supposedly develop roots and can then be transplanted to the garden. I’ve never done this. By the time I need to remove suckers I’m tired of planting tomato plants and I don’t want more.

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