jacobelias
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Suckers With Flowers

Hello,

I have tomato plants in a container which is on the balcony.

I keep removing suckers, however, I have noticed that the suckers are having flowers, see the enclosed screenshot of my plant.
tmt0.jpg
My question is despite having flowers in the suckers, do we need to remove the suckers?

Any help is highly appreciable.

Regards
Last edited by jacobelias on Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

AnnaIkona
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

Hi jacobelias,
Normally suckers are removed when they are at least 2 inches long. Well, at least I do that. When they are at least that length you will see whether they will flower or not.
Leave the suckers when there are flowers.
-Anna
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jacobelias
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

Hi,

I do remove suckers when they start to pop up. However, for some reason I didn't notice this.

Thanks

john gault
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I wouldn't consider that part of the plant a "sucker".

PaulF
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

I DO NOT remove so called suckers. For me they are a part of the plant and do produce fruit from the flowers. Likewise I do not prune or trim leaves or stems unless the plant parts are dragging the ground where they may be in contact with the soil and any disease they may pick up.

If you are going for a reduced number of fruits which will increase the size (of a single or a few tomatoes) up to the variety's capability, then suckering, trimming and pruning may give that result.

For me, 30 one pound tomatoes from a plant that has not been chopped up is better than a few one pound four ounce tomatoes.
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applestar
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

What kind of tomatoes are you growing? If they are indeterminate, you can prune the suckers or not prune them, depending on your growing conditions. But if they are determinate varieties, you should not remove the suckers. Determinate varieties grow shoots that terminate with floral truss. So removing the suckers with reduce harvest.
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TomatoGirl
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

Last year I decided I wasn't removing suckers. Although I trimmed some back where absolutely necissary, I otherwise just kept them. Had the best year of tomatoes ever. Huge healthy plants. I say keep them. Especially if they have flowers.

bri80
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

Applestar is right. It all depends on if the variety we're talking about here is determinate or indeterminate. You should not remove determinate suckers. You should remove indeterminate suckers. Any discussion not mentioning this is missing the point.

As for your case, if you have a determinate tomato just leave it alone. If it's indeterminate and this is a side growth away from your main stems, you can leave the flowers and pinch off the growing tip to keep it from going nuts.

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Re: Suckers With Flowers

Pruning suckers is sometimes necessary especially if you don't have a lot of room and you are training tomatoes to a line. Suckers would have to be removed weekly. While you would be giving up the tomatoes that would appear on the sucker stems, in the long run you should get more tomatoes on the main stem and they should be bigger. Usually training is done to one or two stems. If you don't prune off the suckers you will still get a lot of tomatoes, but the plant will need more space and it is easier to do that if it is in a cage or on a trellis.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

All gardening is local! :) I prune out suckers (and I agree that the part of the plant labelled in this question is not what I would call a sucker), because I garden in humid climates with lots of summer rain. In these conditions tomatoes are very susceptible to septoria and other fungal diseases. I believe that keeping the plants pretty pruned helps with air circulation and therefore disease resistance. Since I grow in cages, I also prune out branches that are growing in to the center. I want to keep the center of the plant open and airy.

People who grow in dry climates wouldn't have to worry about this as much. People who used a different kind of trellising for their plants, instead of cages might not have to worry as much.

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Bethkay12
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

Hey team! I'm still a bit sketchy on what a sucker is - is it a small shoot growing off an established part of a plant? I don't fully understand...
As you can tell I am VERY new to tomatoes. I have a san marzano plant that has 6 flowers that is only very young, I grew it on a whim without any clue what I was doing. Surprised it grew at all after everything I've read!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

See the picture right above your post!!

Sucker is a new stem that grows out of the V-shaped crotch between a stem and a branch. Not everyone prunes them. If left to grow it will become a new stem. Sometimes those new stems are not very productive, but sometimes the new stem will also flower and fruit. But it is competing for nutrients with the original plant. If you leave all the suckers, you may get more tomatoes, but smaller.

Un-pruned, your tomato plant will get VERY bushy:

Image

Since I grow in humid climates, I keep my tomato plants more pruned (pinch out the suckers and also clip most of the branches that are growing in towards the center) to open them up and make more air circulation through the plant. IME, it helps cut down on disease problems.
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Bethkay12
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

Ahhh okay, thank you! I did see the picture but wanted to make sure I understood what I was looking at :lol: I'll have to start a thread with a picture of my plant. I just planted a seed in a small pot and walked away, without realising it grows up to 2 metres tall...
Once it's fruiting, is it too late to transplant to a bigger pot? I don't want to shock it :?

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applestar
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

You might set it back a week or so, but still better to do it now than later. Once the stems grow long and easily snapped, you will have more problems. Show us a picture or two and we can advise with tips for HOW to go about transplanting it, especially if it looks big or weak stemmed and unwieldy.
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Bethkay12
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

I forgot to mention, I'm in Melbourne so it's getting colder and colder here. I don't even remember when I planted the seed, I was just so excited to start a garden! It's almost 11pm now so a photo at the moment won't do much good, but I'll definitely post one in the morning so keep an eye out! :)

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Suckers With Flowers

If your season is about over, it may not be worth trying to deal with a tomato seedling.

I don't know anything about your climate, but if you have freezes, your plant will be killed.

Tomatoes generally take almost four months from planting a seed to harvesting fruit. Most tomato plants will not set fruit if night time temperatures are below 55 F. (13 C.)
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