Tomato plants require pruning for two main reasons: to remove dead or diseased leaves and stems, and to encourage plant growth.
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Cherry tomato plants are generally small, bushier plants with a large number of small fruit. While you don’t have to prune your cherry tomato plant, doing so can increase both the quantity and quality of your crop. This article will give you step-by-step instructions on how to prune a cherry tomato plant for the best results.
What You Will Need
-A bowl of hot water
-A sharp knife
Start by pruning away any dead or dying leaves, branches, or fruit. Cut these back to the nearest healthy point on the plant.
Next, cut away any weak or spindly growth. These branches are not producing well and are taking up energy that could be used elsewhere. Again, cut these back to the nearest healthy point.
Now you will need to decide which branches to prune in order to encourage more fruiting. Cut away any shoots that are growing horizontally or pointing downwards. These will not produce fruit. Instead, focus on pruning the shoots that are growing vertically upwards. Cut these back by about two-thirds their length. This may seem like a lot, but it will allow the plant to put its energy into fewer fruits that will be larger and tastier.
After you have finished pruning, dip your shears in the bowl of hot water for a few minutes. This will disinfect them and help prevent the spread of disease.
Step One: Determine When to Prune
One of the most important aspects of pruning a cherry tomato plant is timing. You don’t want to prune too early or too late in the season. Pruning too early will prevent the plant from developing fruit, while pruning too late will discourage new growth. The best time to prune a cherry tomato plant is after the first flush of fruit has been harvested and before the plant starts to produce new flowers.
Step Two: Cut Off the Suckers
Suckers are the small, green shoots that grow in the angles between the main stem and branches of a tomato plant. If left to grow, suckers will develop into full-sized branches, bearing leaves, flowers, and fruit. However, since only the fruit-bearing branches of a cherry tomato plant are productive, it’s important to remove the suckers as they appear.
To remove a sucker, simply twist it off or cut it away with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Since cherry tomatoes are typically grown in containers or small gardens, they don’t require extensive pruning. In fact, pruning too aggressively can actually harm the plant by reducing its overall leaf surface area (and thus its ability to produce food through photosynthesis). As a general rule of thumb, you should only remove about one-third of the plant’s total leaf surface area each year.
Step Three: Trim the Stems
Prune the tomato plant stems 2 to 3 weeks after the last bloom has faded. This will ensure there are no flowers or fruit on the plant when you prune. Use sharp pruning shears to cut the main stems back by one-third to one-half their size. Also cut back any side shoots — also called suckers — that are growing between the main plant stems. These side shoots compete with the main stems for nutrients and water, and they won’t produce fruit.
Step Four: Remove the Dead or Dying Leaves
As your cherry tomato plant grows, you will need to remove the dead or dying leaves. You can do this by pruning the plant. Pruning is also a good way to encourage new growth.
To remove the dead or dying leaves, use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. Cut off the leaves at the point where they meet the stem. Be sure to make a clean cut so that the plant can heal quickly.
After you have removed the dead leaves, you can then prune the plant to encourage new growth. To do this, cut off any branches that are growing sideways or are longer than the other branches. This will help your plant to grow evenly and will encourage new growth.
Pruning your cherry tomato plant will keep it healthy and productive. When you prune, be sure to remove any diseased or damaged leaves and stems. You can also trim back overgrown branches to encourage new growth. With proper care, your cherry tomato plant will provide you with an abundance of delicious fruit for many seasons to come!