Our Florida friendly tomato varieties absolutely flourish in the peak of each season, and they can quickly become a handful! Every tomato plant is comprised of systems that include the main branch, leafy side branches, and new growth suckers. Each new growth sucker will grow to become its own main branch system. As your tomatoes mature, it is important to prune them for overall health.
When you work on your tomatoes, make sure you have clean hands because soil on the stems can cause disease. Tomatoes should be pruned weekly, and we always start by making sure all main branches of the tomato are growing inside the cage. When you see main stems growing out of the cage, which often happens, gently maneuver them back into the cage as demonstrated in the video. Take your time and try to bend them as little as possible because this process can occasionally cause main stems to break. When this happens don’t be too concerned because there will be many more main branches growing. After you’ve gotten the main branch back in the cage, you can leave the leafy side branches to hang out the side of the cage so it doesn’t become too crowded inside.
For tomatoes that have grown about halfway up the cage, we prune 50% of new growth suckers to encourage the plant to focus on growing existing branches. Once all main branches are securely inside, then you can go back in and prune any excess side branches to allow for airflow, and 50% of the suckers in the middle of the plant. You don’t need to take more than half of the sucker because we do still want some new growth coming in.
For the full video on pruning tomatoes, eggplant, and succession planting you can subscribe here: