Growing cherry tomatoes in home garden. This time, we will explain about pruning the suckers of cherry tomato plants. We will also explain how to remove the cherry tomato suckers. The removal of suckers in cherry tomatoes is also known as “sucker pruning" or “side shoot pinching." Pruning the suckers that develop as the plant grows helps to train the cherry tomato plant, ensuring proper fruiting and shaping of the branches.
It has been about 20 days since planting the cherry tomato. After 20 days from planting the cherry tomato in late April, you will notice an increase in the development of suckers. So, let’s do sucker pruning (removal) to achieve proper training of the plants. The suckers of cherry tomatoes refer to the new branches (lateral shoots) that emerge between the stem and the leaves.
I planted cherry tomato (mini tomato) in late April.
How to prune suckers of cherry tomatoes. (Removing the side shoots of cherry tomatoes.)
If you let the suckers of cherry tomatoes grow unchecked, the nutrients will be dispersed towards the suckers. As the suckers increase, the number of cherry tomatoes will also increase, but the size of each fruit will become smaller. Be sure to pinch off the emerging suckers early. Removing cherry tomato suckers while they are small puts less stress on the plant.
The method to remove cherry tomato suckers is to pinch and snap them off at the base with your fingers. Be careful not to delay removing the suckers, as they may grow large, making it difficult to distinguish between the main stem and the suckers.
Points to note when pruning cherry tomato suckers
Try to prune cherry tomato suckers on sunny days whenever possible. This is because tomato plants are susceptible to diseases through wounds and cuttings.
If it’s sunny when you prune the suckers, the wounds from removing them will dry quickly. Removing suckers from cherry tomatoes is primarily done by hand, but if you use scissors, make sure to use clean tools to prevent disease spread.
Preparing to set up support stakes for cherry tomatoes (Preparing double stakes)
Terms like “single-stem" or “double-stem" are commonly used when cultivating tomato varieties such as cherry tomatoes and medium-sized tomatoes. This refers to how many main stems to cultivate as the primary focus.
“Single stem training" refers to the method of removing all the suckers and allowing only the central main stem to grow. “Single stem training" is a method often used for larger tomatoes. With larger fruits, more nutrients are required, so it’s better to avoid allowing too many suckers to develop. The medium-sized tomatoes I grew last year were also cultivated using this single stem pruning method.
“Double stem" is a common training method used for cherry tomatoes, where one main stem and one sucker are retained for cultivation. The “double stem" method for cherry tomatoes involves having two main stems, resulting in a higher yield of harvestable fruits compared to the single stem method.
For the double stem training of cherry tomatoes, it’s recommended to leave the sucker right below the flower cluster. The sucker right below the flower cluster grows vigorously, making it suitable to keep as a remaining sucker. The retained sucker will be grown as a “lateral branch" for the double stem training method.
That’s it for the sucker pruning and preparation for the double stem training of the cherry tomatoes. However, since suckers continue to emerge as they grow, it’s important to promptly remove the unnecessary ones. For the remaining suckers, once they start growing, you should set up stake and train them in that direction.
Following is the video for how-to. English subtitles are available.