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Over pruning tomato plants

Hi there,
New to this forum as well as to gardening in general. I'm growing cherry and Brady Boy plants for the first time and was advised to trim the sucker branches from each plant. Unfortunately, I over-pruned by a mile, pretty well removing any branch that didn't have flowers or fruit. Follow up reading indicated the dangers of over-pruning. Are these plants doomed? Is there anything I can do to help them recover if necessary?

Rookie mistake I guess :)

The sad thing is the plants were doing so well...hope I can at least salvage some fruit.
Thanks in advance

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JC's Garden
Senior Member
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 10:43 pm
Location: Moultrie, GA Planting Zone 8, Sunset Zone 31

Don't over water and wait. More than likely they will recover. If they don't, it's a lesson well learned. I wish I had a dollar for every mistake I've made in my gardens. :D

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2014 9:26 pm
Location: Upstate, SC

I've done tomatoes both ways... I've pruned the suckers and I've left the suckers.

I know this to be a touchy subject with some folks, so I'll just say this...
I feel like pruning heavily is counterproductive. I didn't get a great crop on the years that I pruned, though I DID get larger fruit.
I feel like I had more issues with fungal disease on the years that I didn't prune anything. But had greater yields.

So I compromise. I cut off ANY branches or leaves that show signs of disease, but I leave the suckers.

Your plant should recover. It may take a while, it's probably a little stressed, so I wouldn't under or over water it. It'll try to produce new suckers at the node joints that you cut, and I would encourage that growth. Tie them close to the stake as they grow. Fruit needs to be shaded or they'll scald in hot sun. Darker tomatoes in my experience, don't scald as bad. I wouldn't feed your plant right now. And not until it's showing promising signs of growth.

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Location: Rock Hill, SC
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I've never pruned tomatoes other than diseased foliage. Get buried in tomatoes most years.

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

If you are training tomatoes up a wire or planting 100 tomatoes in close proximity it may help to prune. The tomatoes will be larger and you will help control some of the fungal diseases.

I only grow a few tomatoes and I cage them, so at most I take off the lower leaves and only the yellow and diseased leaves.

However, I do over-fertilize. My friend had a small (under 6 ft) indeterminate plant that she thought was productive. It had a lot of fruit compared to leaves. I have these 8 ft bushy plants and have more total tomatoes because of the size of the plants with much thicker stems but many times more leaves. I was told I fed them too much, they should be able to produce a lot of tomatoes on a more compact plant.

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