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PunkRotten
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Leaving suckers vs removing them

Hi,


In the past I have grown tomatoes and never removed suckers. I am hearing about how it is advised to remove the suckers. What I understand is you get less fruit but larger fruit. But I also hear the suckers just zap energy from the plant.

I am thinking about trying it with some plants. What is the correct way to do it? I hear you have to remove all suckers below the first flower cluster. But you should keep all that are above correct?

CharlieBear
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If you grew determinates in the past then there is very little reason to remove suckers as they don't generate that many. If you are growing indeterminates, some of them sucker like crazy and will produce lots of plants at the expense of tomatoes. So if you are growing indeterminates, then I would remove all of the suckers while they are very small so the plant can put its energy into growing fruit, the part you really want.

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PunkRotten
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Remove all suckers or only those below the first flower cluster?

gardenboy
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Remove suckers

Yeah remove all the suckers below the first flower cluster. Then as the plant grows it keeps blooming and then remove the suckers below the next set of blooms and so on...don't remove any above flowers as that might be your next set of flower clusters. U can leave all suckers on determinate varieties as they all bloom and set fruit at once and then dies. Keep removing the suckers on indeterminate varieties below the flower clusters. You will get bigger tomatoes IF you remove the suckers...smaller tomatoes if u don't.

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rainbowgardener
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Reading in this forum, you will find all kinds of opinions on this. I'm also of the remove suckers camp. For me in my humid climate, I believe it keeps the plants a little more open for air circulation, so reduces disease, as well as perhaps concentrating the plants energy.

But there are quite successful tomato growers who never prune anything. So I think it is a matter of experimenting to see what works best for you in your conditions. Try pruning one and not pruning the one next to it and see what happens.

Write back and let us know what you find! :)
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PunkRotten
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Cool guys thanks for all the tips.

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Gary350
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I tried it both ways I don't see any difference. Now I let mother nature do its thing.

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PunkRotten
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Do I remove suckers immediately when I see them or wait until I see the first flower cluster?

gardenboy
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Remove tomato suckers

You have to wait for your flower clusters first and remove the suckers BELOW flower clusters never above the cluster. That next sucker might be your next flower cluster...so wait and remove all suckers BELOW the flower clusters. Just look at your plant and remove BELOW the flower clusters never above the cluster.

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gixxerific
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I trim and sucker only for reason that my plants get unrul and and to help with my humid climate.

By the mid to late season there is no keeping up and production is still great so do waht you will.

carolyn137
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I'm one of the persons who never takes off suckers but it really depends on where you live in terms of how you grow your tomatoes and where, in a climate sense that you do. As well as if foliage diseases are a major problem where you are.

THe word sucker was originally given to what are really called lateral branches b'c way back when it was thought that lateral branches "sucked" the energy out of the plant , which is not true. Long ago it was also thought that lateral branches were not productive as in blossom for mation and fruit set, which is also not true as I'm sure most already know.

I should say that in the past I've grown most of my plants by sprawling and some in cages.

The way I see it, the more foliage you have the more photosynthesis you have thus the greater amount of energy ( ATP and GTP) is generated which is a huge benefit to the plant in terms of plant growth, blossom for mation, fruit set and fruit maturation.

I also like to have some backup foliage if my plants get foliage diseases.

And a more hefty foliage cover the less likely fruits are to develop sunscld, but for most folks sunscald of fruits only starts after harvesting starts and the foliage is rearranged and in doing that thus exposing the fruits to more sun.

So as was said above, some do and some don't remove lateral branches.

Yes, it is true that with some varieties if you prune heavily that there will be less fruits and most of the time bigger fruits. But I've never been one interested in growing large fruits of any variety, what's most important to me is taste. :)

Just another opinion. :wink:

Carolyn

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Runningtrails
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I prune my tomatoes but I grow mostly indeterminates. With our short growing season, any flowers on the suckers don't have time to produce fruit that ripens before the frost, so I always pick them off. I also cut the top off the plants themselves on Aug 1st so they will put all their energy into ripening what is there before the frost, instead of growing more plant material and blooming with flowers that won't have time to ripen anyway. When it gets close to frost, I will also root prune them to force them to ripen what is there.

It all depends on where you live. If you are in Florida and frost is not a problem, you could probably get away without pruning at all and still have a good harvest.

I find that, if left alone, unpruned and unstaked, indeterminate tomatoes will grow like crazy all over, making it hard to find all the ripe fruit, much less keep it all clean and off the ground.

I also prune off some of the leaves to open up the inside of the plants that get too bushy. Some tomatoes, like San Marzano, have massive leaves that hide all the fruit. In Florida, this shade is a good thing, up here it is not and in the damp, rainy season, these leaves make for poor air flow and more mildew/rot, so I prune a lot of leaves off. I cut off all the leaves that touch the ground, as well, hoping this will prevent some disease and deter some pests.

hardland
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I'm in Sth FL and have 30 tom plants on the go. different types so im pruning some suckers and leaving others( pardon the pun) One thing I noticed was blossom/fruit branches seem to be an inch+ above a leef branch, while suckers seem to be directly at the joint of main stem and leef branch. It's quite amazing how if you leave a sucker for a few days, before you know it, it's more rigorous than the main stem.. I guess thats the point of pruning them, they seem to almost dominate the plant.
Hey there Mister,
Can you tell me what happened to the seeds iv'e sown,
can you give me a reason sir, as to why they've never grown,

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