You may have never thought about it, but your plants might give too many fruits. While that sounds like a good thing more often than not, it is the source of many problems. Thus, you will have to prune your tomato plants to produce a healthier crop of tomatoes.
Because tomatoes are hardy, once they find a spot they like, they will thrive and give you more fruits that the plant can sustain. As crazy as it might sound, a common problem of tomato plants is dealing with too many fruits. The additional weight and need for energy result in unhealthy tomatoes and attract pests and diseases.
But what should you do if you get too many tomatoes on one plant? Usually, in these cases, pruning is the answer. Not only will this process keep your plants more compact, but it will also ensure more flavorful and numerous crops.
Too Many Tomatoes on One Plant: The Basics
If you are familiar with gardening and tomatoes, you may know about “suckers.” With this term, gardeners usually refer to branches between fruit-bearing parts of a plant and the stem. They are one of the principal causes for too many tomatoes on one plant. To avoid dealing with small tomatoes with little flavor, you must trim suckers off.
Of course, how much you prune depends on which tomato plants you have. Some varieties require more pruning as they flourish and increase their overall weight. Leaving your tomatoes plants to grow indefinitely is not a good idea. Without appropriate support, the added weight of additional branches and fruits can cause expose the plant to diseases and pests when a part of it touches the ground. Additionally, a plant bearing too much weight will require more time to produce fruits. And none likes to wait for a long time to get flavorless fruits.
As mentioned, pruning tomato plants will give you higher yields. Trimming off some branches will divert the plant’s energy to growing fruits instead of (useless) foliage. Ideally, you’ll want to prune to create a couple of stems of the same length to keep the plant to a manageable size and prevent leaves and branches from touching the ground. Also, each stem should receive an adequate amount of light and air circulation to bear healthy and flavorful fruits.
How To Prune A Tomato Plant
We recommend pruning both “suckers” and the bottom branches of your plant. This tip will prevent your tomatoes from touching the ground and attracting pests to your plant. Also, having a clear base will give you more fruits in attractive shapes and sizes.
Pruning tomato plants begin with seedlings. Indeed, one of the keys to having healthy plants is to produce strong stems, which will give you more fruits without needing much support. To encourage strong stems from the beginning, you must prune seedlings before transplanting them to their final growing spot. To do so, remove all the leaves and ensure you cover the seedlings with soil to encourage strong rooting. Specifically, try to remove all growth below the first cluster of flowers on your plant.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t have more than four branches on your plant, as they will deprive precious energy to make healthy and flavorful fruits. Once your plant reaches its ideal height (which shouldn’t be higher than its support), you should consistently pinch out all the new growing tips. But beware not to pinch them too soon: allow two sets of leaves to develop on the sucker before taking them off.
Too Many Tomatoes on One Plant: The Bottom Line
By now, you should know how to avoid your tomato plant giving too many fruits. As counterintuitive as this may sound, too many tomatoes are not a good sign. Despite what you may think, it is best to have a consistent yield of delicious fruits rather than a high volume of unhealthy tomatoes.
After all, a tomato plant can only support a definite amount of growth. Too much of it will cause its structure to fall and attract pests and diseases that will ruin your plant and vanish all your efforts.
To prune your plant adequately and keep it healthy, make sure you follow our recommendations. Also, don’t forget to use sterilized tools to cut branches off your plant!